GOP Lawmaker Resigns Ahead of Sexual Misconduct Inquiry

Rep. Trent Franks says he discussed surrogacy with female employees
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2017 6:36 PM CST
GOP Lawmaker Resigns Ahead of Sexual Misconduct Inquiry
Republican Rep. Trent Franks says he is resigning Jan. 31 amid a House Ethics Committee investigation of possible sexual harassment.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

A conservative lawmaker from Arizona announced his resignation from the House on Thursday after the House Ethics Committee revealed it's investigating sexual harassment allegations against him, Politico reports. Rep. Trent Franks says the investigation is "regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates" that made "each feel uncomfortable." His statement continues: "I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress." Franks is the third lawmaker and first Republican to resign this week, following Rep. John Conyers and Sen. Al Franken.

Franks cites the likelihood of "a sensationalized trial by media" for resigning ahead of an investigation, USA Today reports. “In the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me ... through hyperbolized public excoriation," HuffPost quotes Franks as saying. The 60-year-old Franks, who is married with twins, was elected to the House in 2002. According to NBC News, he's a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus and known for being deeply anti-abortion, having compared abortion to slavery and the Holocaust and sponsored bills to ban it after 20 weeks. A special election will be held to replace him. (More Trent Franks stories.)

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