Rep. Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican who is among the most conservative members of the House, is expected to resign his seat as soon as Thursday, according to a GOP member and an aide familiar with his plans.
On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee said it would create a special subcommittee to investigate Franks for conduct "that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment". "After discussing options with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effective today, December 8th, 2017", Franks said in an emailed statement.
He's a staunch social conservative who sponsored House-passed legislation to make it a crime for any person to perform an abortion if the age of the fetus is 20 weeks or more. He recently told the National Journal that he and his wife have tried three times to adopt from a crisis pregnancy center, but each time his wife changed her mind after the birth. Announcing his resignation takes him out of the orbit of a House Ethics Committee probe, pundits explained.
The 60-year-old lawmaker also said that he and his wife "have long struggled with infertility".
The investigation came after House officials learned that he had asked two female employees to bear his child as a surrogate.
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".
He says that in the "current cultural and media climate" he would "unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation".
It was not immediately clear why Franks was resigning. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced his resignation after facing allegations of sexual harassment by at least eight women.
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.