Ex-Aide: Rep. Franks Offered $5M to Be Surrogate

Amid new allegations, Arizona lawmaker bumps resignation from January to Friday
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2017 4:36 PM CST
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., takes his seat before the start of a House Judiciary hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, on Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – A former aide says Rep. Trent Franks offered her $5 million to act as a surrogate for he and his wife, the AP reports. And according to Politico, sources say female staffers were unclear if the Arizona Republican was suggesting in vitro fertilization or actual intercourse when he made the pitch. Franks announced his resignation Thursday ahead of a House Ethics Committee investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, admitting to speaking to two female staffers about surrogacy. Now new details are leaking out. A former staffer says Franks asked her about being a surrogate at least four times, making her uncomfortable. "I was asked a few times to look over a 'contract' to carry his child, and if I would conceive his child, I would be given $5 million," she tells the AP. She says she felt retaliated against after refusing.

Meanwhile, sources say the two female staffers asked about surrogacy by Franks were unclear if he was suggesting sex as part of the deal. A former staffer says in another instance Franks tried to convince a female aide that she was in love with him by giving her an article about how you know you're in love with someone. Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition, says she reported allegations against Franks to House Speaker Paul Ryan in recent weeks, calling his behavior "horrific"—"a powerful man hiring young women, procuring staff, to potentially surrogate children for him." Ryan then asked Franks to resign. While Franks had said he would leave office in January, he now says he will resign Friday after his wife was hospitalized Thursday night "due to an ongoing ailment," CNN reports. (Read more Trent Franks stories.)

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