Representative Trent Franks is accused of approaching his aides with an assignment that doesn’t come along with the job. He allegedly approached his staff with an offer of becoming a pregnancy surrogate for he and his wife.
Franks is accused of making “unwanted advances” to female staff within his office, and he is also accused of retaliation by one of the women who “rebuffed him,” according to Politico.
The female staffers who claim they were approached by Franks “fretted” that he wanted to have sex with them to impregnate them, according to reports. These allegations reached Speaker Paul Ryan and the top leaders in the GOP recently, which is what led to Franks’ sudden resignation.
His original resignation date was at the end of January, but after Paul Ryan stepped in, Franks left abruptly this week. It was just hours after the news site Politico inquired about the allegations made against Franks that he put his resignation on fast-track and left on Friday, reports Politico.
Another politician in Washington is now gone over allegations of sexual misconduct, but the backstory to Representative Trent Franks’ allegations appears to be the first of its kind so far among the group of men exiting D.C. on the coattails of these allegations.
The Arizona Congressman admits to having conversations with his staff about pregnancy surrogates, as this was something that he and his wife were going through at the time. But he doesn’t admit to what two of his female staff members are accusing him of. He is denying making any type of advance or suggestion about becoming a surrogate to any of his staff members.
Sources indicate that Franks approached the women about potentially becoming surrogates for he and his wife, who were not having success conceiving a baby. The aides’ concerns surfaced when it wasn’t clear as to how Franks intended to impregnate a surrogate.
It was not made clear to the women by Franks if he was asking them to have sex with him so he could impregnate them, or if he was asking them to carry a baby using the in-vitro fertilization method. Franks denied these allegations, along with others made against him.
One woman alleges she was the “subject of retribution” after rebuffing Franks. According to Politico, “she enjoyed access to the congressman before the incident, that access was revoked afterward, she told Republican leaders.”
The latest news coming from this case concerns one female staff person who has come forward to say that Franks offered her $5 million to carry his child, according to the Associated Press today. They are also reporting that Franks resigned today “bowing to an ultimatum from Speaker Paul Ryan.” The Washington Post reports that the woman who was offered the $5 million was handed a contract by Franks to sign, which she refused to do.
Ryan urged Franks to step aside as he would refer the matter to the ethics committee and Franks did just that; he resigned immediately. One female staff person claims she was approached “at least four times” by Franks, who offered her money to act as a surrogate, but again the method of impregnating her was not clear.
AP News did verify the staff person’s name and confirmed that she did work for him in his office, but she requested her name be withheld for privacy.
Franks said he “never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.”