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Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona resigns amid sexual harassment investigation

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, one of the most conservative members of the House, resigned Thursday after the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into allegations that he had sexually harassed staff members.

The Ethics Committee separately announced an investigation into sexual misconduct by a second Republican lawmaker, Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas.

In a statement, Franks admitted that he had talked with two women who worked for him about bearing a child for him by surrogacy. He insisted he had done nothing wrong, but said he was stepping down because in the “midst of this current cultural and media climate” an investigation would be “distorted and sensationalized.”

The other lawmaker under scrutiny, Farenthold, used $84,000 in taxpayer money to settle a case, which was revealed last week. He told a Texas television station that he did nothing wrong, but said he would try to repay the money. He has refused calls to resign.

This post was updated with news of Franks’ resignation.

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