The House Ethics Committee later announced that is had opened an investigation of allegations Mr. Franks "engaged in conducted that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment".
Although Franks's statement left the circumstances of the "discussion" murky, three Republicans familiar with the allegations said that he had asked the staffers, who worked for him at the time but have since left his office, if they would serve as a surrogate mother for his child.
A spokesman for Franks would not comment on whether the congressman offered aides money in exchange to act as surrogates.
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But he issued a statement Friday saying he would leave Congress immediately.
"Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others", he said in the statement, adding: "I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress".
Franks and his wife have struggled with infertility. "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. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015. Al Franken, D-Minn., announced earlier Thursday he intends to step down soon after multiple women claimed Franken tried to kiss them or inappropriately touch them. He said he'd depart in a few weeks.
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