Hours after Sen. Al Franken announced he was resigning after multiple women claimed he had grabbed them inappropriately or forced a kiss, the House Ethics Committee announced it is investigating two GOP members.
One of them, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, announced he was resigning, effective January 31, 2018, and that he was under investigation for a “discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable.” Announcing his resignation takes him out of the orbit of a House Ethics Committee probe, pundits explained.
“I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress,” said Franks, becoming the third Hill-er to announce he is throwing in the towel following Franken and Rep. John Conyers just this week.
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) also is under investigation, the House Ethics Committee announced Thursday evening.
“Given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks, 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,” Franks insisted Thursday night.
Franks said he and his wife have struggled with infertility for years. They are the parents of twins, who they had via gestational surrogate.
“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,” said Franks, who was first elected to Congress in 2002.
Franks said he was resigning his House seat because because, “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, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation.”
Rather than be subjected to “a sensationalized trial by media,” he notified House leadership he would be leaving Congress the last day of January.