Spokesman Paul D. Ryan was informed a week ago about "credible claims of misconduct" and presented them to Mr. Franks, according to a separate statement from his office. When the congressman did not deny them, the speaker referred the matter to the Ethics Committee and told him to resign. Mr. Ryan's statement did not detail the behavior in question.
The Ethics Committee issued a statement on Thursday night saying it had opened an investigation into whether Mr. Franks "engaged in conduct that constitutes sexual harassment and / or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment." "
Mr. Franks, whose strident social conservatism and firm opposition to abortion in all its forms have defined his mandate, said he would retire at the end of January instead of awaiting the outcome of the investigation.
It is the third Legislator resigns this week on allegations related to sexual harassment, as lawmakers of both parties deal with sexual misconduct on the Capitol.
When he announced an investigation into Mr. Franks' behavior, the Ethics Committee revealed She had formed an investigative subcommittee to see if Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Texas Republican, had sexually harassed a former employee and "retaliated against her for complaining about discriminatory behavior." The committee said it would also examine whether Mr. Farenthold had made inappropriate statements to other staff members.  In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Farenthold resisted He went to the idea of resigning, saying that the media had treated him unfairly.
"I have not done anything wrong," he said. "I am pleased to visit someone who has a concern and explain the facts to the extent that I am allowed to reach an agreement."
News of Mr. Franks' pending announcement was made at the Republican House Conference on Thursday by the night as the members were on the floor to vote on a provisional financing measure to keep the government open last Friday. At one point, Mr. Franks and several other Republicans crowded into what appeared to be a group prayer.
Asked earlier in the day, before it was known that he would resign, on his party's response to the allegations of sexual harassment, Mr. Franks had simply said: "It's a lot to understand here"
His statement on Thursday said he was confident that "I could not complete a fair ethical investigation of the House before the distorted and sensationalized versions of this story put me, my family, my staff and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives, hyperbolic public excoriation. "
" Instead of allowing a sensationalist trial by the media "to damage" the things I love most, "he continued," this morning I notified the House's leadership that I will leave the Congress ".
The surprising night development followed the Thursday morning scene on the other side of the Capitol, where Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, resigned in the face of growing accusations that he had groped several women. Representative John Conyers Jr., a Democrat from Michigan, announced earlier this week that he would resign. Mr. Conyers, 88, was the longest serving member of the Chamber.
Mr. Franks was elected to the House for the first time in 2002. A member of the House Freedom Caucus and a firm ally of President Trump, he has pushed for measures that limit access to abortion and other conservative causes.
Represents a district that extends to the north and west of Phoenix that has been safe Republican. If Mr. Franks effectively leaves office at the end of January, state law requires a special election to fill his seat for the remainder of the term.
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