"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", the Republican said. Initial reports of his resignation did not give a reason why, but new details are emerging.
Franks says he deeply regrets "that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress".
Franks, a staunch conservative, said in his statement Thursday that he never physically intimidated, coerced or attempted to have sexual contact with any member of his congressional staff.
The congressman admits he "became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others". "She came to me shaking and sobbing, and she shared a story that I think is horrific, a powerful man hiring young women, procuring staff, to potentially surrogate children for him", Lafferty said. Ryan told Franks he should resign, and said he would refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee, his statement said. Announcing his resignation takes him out of the orbit of a House Ethics Committee probe, pundits explained.
On Thursday, Democratic Senator Al Franken announced on the Senate floor that he too would resign his Minnesota seat amid harassment claims.
Franks is also a member of the House Freedom Caucus, a hard-right faction that has often clashed with Republican leaders.
Rep. Trent Franks, the latest casualty of sex harassment scandals on Capitol Hill, has moved up his resignation date to effective Friday.
Franks' departure comes just days after Democratic Representative John Conyers of MI announced his immediate retirement amid sexual harassment allegations that he has denied. Attempts to seek comment through the House Office of the Clerk were unsuccessful. He continued as chairman of a House Judiciary subcommittee and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.