Tonight Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona became the latest congressman to resign from office. Franks cited an Ethics Committee investigation of a sexual harassment claim as the reason for his resignation, but denied any wrongdoing.
"Given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks, I want to first make one thing completely clear," Franks' resignation letter said. "I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff."
Franks said that the ethics inquiry was the related to an infertility issue that he and his wife had experienced. The couple used a surrogate to bear their twins and attempted to have another child with a second surrogate. Franks said that the ethics complaints by two previous female subordinates stemmed from discussions about surrogacy that made the staffers feel uncomfortable.
"In the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation" due to "distorted and sensationalized versions" of the story, Franks said.
Franks has been a member of Congress since 2003, serving Arizona's eighth congressional district near Phoenix. His resignation is effective Jan. 31, 2018.
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) have also announced plans to leave Congress due to sexual harassment charges this week. At least 25 other Republican House members have announced plans to leave Congress in 2018.