UPDATE: The House Ethics Committee announced tonight that U.S. Rep. Trent Franks is being investigated for sexual harassment allegations.
Via CNN, here is the full statement from Franks. According to him, the allegations arose out of discussions of his family’s need for a surrogate mother after struggles with infertility (I can’t imagine we’re quite getting all the details here but it sounds like he asked his staffers about being surrogates):
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. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.
House Speaker Paul Ryan met with Franks yesterday and told him he should resign. Ryan’s statement:
Roll Call reports that U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican is expected to resign:
“We will have a statement a little bit later, but that’s all I can tell you right now,” Franks told Roll Call. “The statement will explain.”
It is unclear exactly why Franks is stepping down, but one Arizona Republican said there had been rumors of inappropriate behavior. The Republican said the congressman had apparently been making plans to run for Senate in 2012, but abruptly canceled those plans.
“There’s been rumors swirling around him for years, at least in 2012,” the Republican said. “And if this turns out to be true, there won’t be that many people who are surprised.”
Meanwhile, a Democratic strategist says lots more reports are coming of sexual misconduct allegations on Capitol Hill:
— Michael Trujillo (@mikehtrujillo) December 7, 2017
The Arizona Republic has more on Franks:
In his eight terms representing the West Valley, Franks has been a stalwart social conservative on Capitol Hill, frequently citing the Bible and denouncing abortion. He has long made protecting children a centerpiece of his work in Washington.
While Franks, 60, has often been quick to invoke religious-based morality, he has been largely silent on the unfolding national reckoning on sexual harassment. …
Last week Franks declined to answer a request by The Arizona Republic about whether he was aware of any legal settlements to resolve claims against him involving sexual harassment or creating a hostile workplace for women.