WASHINGTON (AP) — A former aide to Republican Rep. Trent Franks has advised The Associated Press the congressman repeatedly pressed her to carry his child, at one level providing her $5 million to act as a surrogate mom.
The eight-term lawmaker abruptly resigned Friday, bowing to an ultimatum from House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan advised Franks that he would refer the allegations to the Ethics Committee and urged him to step apart.
The former staffer stated the congressman a minimum of 4 occasions requested if she’d be keen to act as a surrogate in change for cash. Franks, in his assertion saying his resignation, stated he and his spouse, who’ve struggled with infertility, have twins who had been carried by means of surrogacy.
The former aide stated the conversations befell in personal, generally within the congressman’s automobile, and that she repeatedly advised him she wasn’t . She stated she by no means filed a proper criticism as a result of till lately she did not know the place to go, however that his habits had made her really feel uncomfortable.
The Associated Press verified the identification of the staffer and confirmed that she labored in Franks’ workplace. She requested that her identify be withheld out of concern for her privateness,.
“During my time there, I used to be requested a couple of occasions to look over a ‘contract’ to carry his child, and if I’d conceive his child, I’d be given $5 million,” she stated, including that she refused to look over the contract and has by no means seen a replica.
The girl stated the requests shocked her, and made her really feel afraid that if she did not agree, she would face skilled penalties. She stated she spoke to one other aide within the workplace, who had additionally been approached about surrogacy.
The aide cited the surrogacy requests as “a principal motive” for leaving the workplace, including that she felt retaliated in opposition to after turning down the congressman, ignored by Franks and never given many assignments.
A spokesman for Franks wouldn’t touch upon whether or not the congressman offered aides cash in change to act as surrogates.
Franks, a staunch conservative, stated in his assertion Thursday that he by no means bodily intimidated, coerced or tried to have sexual contact with any member of his congressional employees.
The surrogacy course of usually entails eradicating an egg from the mom, fertilizing it with sperm from the daddy, then putting the fertilized egg within the uterus of the surrogate, who carries it to time period.
Franks, 60, stated he had develop into acquainted with the surrogacy course of in recent times and “grew to become insensitive as to how the dialogue of such an intensely private matter may have an effect on others.”
He stated he regrets that his “dialogue of this feature and course of within the office” with two feminine staffers made them really feel uncomfortable.
Ryan on Thursday stated in a press release that he was briefed on the allegations final week, and located them to be “critical and requiring motion.”
Ryan stated that he introduced Franks with the allegations, “which he didn’t deny,” and filed them with the House Committee on Ethics.
A senior congressional official stated Ryan’s normal counsel was contacted about two weeks in the past by somebody with details about “troubling habits” by Franks involving a former staffer. Ryan’s lawyer interviewed two girls with comparable complaints and verified them by means of a 3rd celebration. The official spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the official was not approved to focus on the deliberations.
Andrea Lafferty, President of Traditional Values Coalition, stated she is the one who reported Franks’ conduct to the speaker’s workplace. Lafferty advised AP that the previous aide got here to her a couple of yr in the past and advised her concerning the surrogacy requests. Lafferty stated she contacted Ryan’s workplace final month, after the staffer agreed to focus on the incident with management.
“I used to be approached final yr concerning the state of affairs, she got here to me wanting some recommendation about how to deal with this. She got here to me shaking and sobbing, and she or he shared a narrative that I feel is horrific, a robust man hiring younger girls, procuring employees, to doubtlessly surrogate youngsters for him,” Lafferty stated. “I accompanied (the previous aide) to the assembly within the speaker’s workplace the place she stated Congressman Trent Franks offered her $5 million if she conceived him a child.”
Franks’ web value of almost $33 million makes him one of many wealthier members of Congress. While surrogacy laws and prices range from state to state, companies usually run within the vary of the low tons of of 1000’s of dollars. The former aide stated she by no means obtained particulars about cost or the place the method would happen.
Franks is one among three lawmakers to step apart in every week as sexual misconduct allegations rocked the Capitol.
He stated in a press release Friday: “Last evening, my spouse was admitted to the hospital in Washington, D.C., due to an ongoing ailment. After discussing choices with my household, we got here to the conclusion that one of the best factor for our household now could be for me to tender my earlier resignation efficient in the present day, December eighth, 2017.”
On Thursday, liberal Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., introduced his resignation after going through allegations of sexual harassment by a minimum of eight girls. Franken stated a few of these accusations had been false and that he remembered others in a different way than his accusers did. He stated he’d depart in a couple of weeks.
On Tuesday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resigned efficient instantly. He confronted accusations from girls of improper sexual habits that he is contesting.
Franks, an abortion opponent, drew a pointy response from Democrats throughout a 2013 House committee debate when he stated, “The incidence of rape leading to being pregnant are very low.” He sought to make clear the remark, saying later-term abortions linked to pregnancies attributable to rape are rare.
Franks is a robust backer of President Donald Trump, represents a district encompassing suburbs north and west of Phoenix.
Before successful election to Congress, he served within the Arizona Legislature and based the Arizona Family Research Institute, a company related to Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family.” The group later modified its identify to the Center for Arizona Policy, and continues to be a drive on the Arizona Capitol. It pushes anti-abortion, non secular freedom and college alternative laws and publishes a yearly scorecard monitoring how lawmakers vote on its proposed payments.
Associated Press writers Andrew Taylor, Anita Snow and David Crary contributed to this report.