Franks announced that he was resigning effective immediately on Friday afternoon, after his wife was reportedly admitted to the hospital. On Thursday, the conservative congressman from Arizona acknowledged that he had “made certain individuals uncomfortable,” in a statement announcing that he planned to resign on January 31, 2018, to avoid a House ethics committee investigation into complaints that he had asked two staffers to act as pregnancy surrogates. In that statement Franks stated that he and his wife had trouble conceiving and suggested that this was all a simple misunderstanding, not harassment. Citing his lack of “familiarity and experience with the process,” he acknowledged that he “clearly became insensitive” when discussing how surrogacy “might affect others.”
Well, the details of Franks’s ask are coming out and “insensitivity” doesn’t really begin to cover them. Franks may have suggested sexual intercourse with the staffers. Per Politico:
The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization. Franks opposes abortion rights as well as procedures that discard embryos.
The Associated Press is reporting, meanwhile, that Franks offered one of the women $5 million to carry his child.
The story of Franks’s resignation—which began with the acknowledgment that he asked female staffers to carry his child—was bizarre to begin with. But now it appears that he may have used the rationale that his religious views required him to have unprotected extramarital sex with his staffers.