(WASHINGTON) — Eight-term Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., announced on Thursday his resignation from the U.S. House of Representatives, effective January 31, 2018.
In a statement, Franks said that he and his wife have “long struggled with infertility” and that he broached the subject of surrogacy with multiple female staffers.
“I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable,” Franks said. “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”
He added, “Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan first demanded Franks resign last Thursday, on Nov. 30, after one of his aides was contacted with information about “troubling behavior” Franks directed at a former staffer.
After the speaker’s general counsel interviewed the former staffer, and validated misconduct against a second aide, Ryan was briefed and soon presented the claims to Franks. The speaker then filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee on Friday, according to his office.
Franks, a prominent evangelical Christian member of Congress and high-profile anti-abortion advocate, was a member of the Freedom Caucus and the Republican Study Committee.
Franks is the second U.S. congressman to resign in recent days, following Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.
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