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GOP Rep. Trent Franks resigns amid explosive harassment and cash-for-surrogacy claims

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) asked two of his female staffers to be "surrogates" for him and his wife, and was unclear about the requests so as to lead the women to wonder whether he was suggesting that he wanted to have sex with them in order to impregnate them, Politico reported Friday. Franks, 60, has twins that were born via surrogate and reportedly was not clear "whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization," Politico adds. Franks allegedly offered one woman $5 million to act as his surrogate, The Associated Press reports, and repeated the request multiple times when she did not immediately accept.

That was not the only odd story to come out of Franks' office, either:

A former staffer also alleged that Franks tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they're in love with someone, the sources said. One woman believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks. While she enjoyed access to the congressman before the incident, that access was revoked afterward, she told Republican leaders. [Politico]

After reports Thursday that Franks sought a surrogate among his staff, the eight-term congressman said he would resign early next year. "I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable," Franks said in a statement. "I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress." On Friday, he abruptly announced he would be resigning today instead, noting that his wife had been admitted to the hospital; the immediacy of his resignation was reportedly spurred by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).