Arizona Rep. Trent Franks tried to persuade a female staffer that she and he were in love by sending her an article that describes how someone knows they’re in love, according to a new report from Politico. He also offered a woman $5 million to carry his love child, according to the Associated Press.
The congressman’s public fall from grace took less than 24 hours — far quicker than any of the other lawmakers currently accused of sexual misconduct. Franks, who had previously indicated he would serve out the next month, announced his immediate resignation on Friday afternoon after Politico inquired about new allegations of sexual impropriety made against him. Franks, the outlet reports, asked at least two staffers to act as surrogates for him and his wife, who had struggled for years with infertility. The staffer told Politico that it was unclear whether they were being propositioned for sex or in vitro fertilization, a confusing landscape further complicated by the fact that Franks doesn’t believe in abortions or processes that discard embryos.
Franks initially announced his resignation on Thursday, saying it would be effective at the end of January, after the story of his approaching women on his staff about surrogacy came to light.
The allegations creeped their way up the GOP ranks to House Speaker Paul Ryan, who reportedly personally asked Franks to get out immediately. The wheels were set in motion after someone briefed Ryan’s lawyers on the situation two weeks ago, prompting Ryan’s staff to follow up with their own interviews.
Franks, for his part, denied all the allegations on Friday in a statement and said he was resigning sooner because his wife had been hospitalized.
“Last night, my wife was admitted to the hospital in Washington, D.C., due to an ongoing ailment,” he said in a statement. “After discussing options with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effective today, December 8th, 2017.”
Franks’ office did not respond to a request for comment asking which love article he used.