09 December, 2017
Franks acknowledged in a Thursday statement announcing plans to resign January 30 that the investigation concerned his "discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable".
The House Ethics Committee later announced that is had opened an investigation of allegations Mr. Franks "engaged in conducted that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment".
He said that he had learned that the House Ethics Committee was reviewing complaints about his discussions with two female aides about surrogate motherhood. Franks, in his statement announcing his resignation, said he and his wife, who have struggled with infertility, have twins who were carried through surrogacy. "I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress".
But he issued a statement Friday saying he would leave Congress immediately.
"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.More news: Microsoft Announces Massive Redmond Campus Expansion And Up To 8000 New Workers
Franks has served in the House since 2003 and is known as a fierce opponent of legal abortion, recently sponsoring a bill banning abortions after 20-week gestation that passed the House.
Ryan on Thursday said in a statement that he was briefed on the allegations last week, and found them to be "serious and requiring action".
It is unclear exactly why Franks is stepping down, but one Arizona Republican said there had been rumors of inappropriate behavior. The House Ethics Committee will investigate Franks' fellow GOPer, Texan Blake Farenthold, for allegedly sexually harassing a staff member and retaliating against her.
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz) (left) during a hearing on the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act at Rayburn House Office Building in Washington on May 23, 2013. Al Franken earlier in the day. Attempts to seek comment through the House Office of the Clerk were unsuccessful.