Congressman Trent Franks announced his resignation from Congress Thursday evening, saying he was unwilling to undergo an Ethics Committee investigation into conversations about surrogacy he had in recent years with two female staffers.
Franks said that he and his wife had struggled with infertility, and had twins through a surrogate in 2008. Later, when they wished to have another child, Franks apparently broached the topic with members of his staff.
“Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others,” Franks said. “I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.”
Franks, who has served in Congress since 2003, categorically denied that he had ever made sexual overtures to anyone in his office.
“I have always tried to create a very warm and supportive atmosphere for every last person who has ever worked in my congressional office. It is my deepest conviction that there are many staffers, former and present, who would readily volunteer to substantiate this fact,” Franks said. “I want to first make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.”
Despite this, Franks said he was unwilling to put himself and his family through the “hyperbolized public excoriation” and “distorted and sensationalized versions of this story” that a House ethics investigation would entail.
“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 31, 2018,” Franks said.
A group of conservative congressmen appeared to console a distressed Franks on the House floor Thursday evening, gathering around him to pray with him.
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