December 8, 2017

Do you understand why the Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks thinks he has to resign?

I'd been trying to understand, and I don't get it. Chris Cillizza looks at the resignation letter and deems it "absolutely bizarre."

From the letter: "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. 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. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress."

Also in the letter, as summarized by Cillizza, after Franks's wife had 3 miscarriages, the couple were able to use a surrogate to produced twins, and they wanted more children. That was a topic he discussed with 2 of his female employees. What's so terrible about that, especially after he acknowledges that the discussion made the employees uncomfortable and expresses regret. Can't we all move on?

Cillizza goes on to mock Franks's statement because it says too much. It proceeds to criticize the media:
"Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31, 2018," Franks said in the closing lines of his statement.
But I think it says too little! What was so awful about what Franks actually said (as opposed to how the employees, by their own report, felt)? Cillizza, a member of the press, goes sarcastic: "Riiiiight. It was the 'sensationalized trial by media' that's to blame here. Not the conversations about surrogacy with two female employees. Got it!" Cillizza wants those who resign from Congress to keep it short. "Be brief," he advises.

Well, that's one way to put it. If they get part way into an explanation, we're confused. We might want to say: Then why are you leaving? In the longish version that Cillizza mocks, the answer to why is that the media have gone wild and are horribly cruel. Cillizza didn't quote another line in Franks's letter, which I see here:
"But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation."
This is somewhat similar to what Al Franken said yesterday:
I said at the outset that the ethics committee was the right venue for these allegations to be heard and investigated and evaluated on their merits. That I was prepared to cooperate fully and that I was confident in the outcome.... I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the ethics committee would agree.... It has become clear that I can't both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them. 
The way things are right now, the member of Congress cannot pursue vindication through the established process. The trial in the media and the opposition from other members of Congress is so severe that you have to end the exposure to their attacks. No future vindication at the end of a fair process seems worth the pain. Not to Franken or Franks.

Now, Donald Trump and Judge Roy Moore. Those guys will stand their ground forever and take it. Do you understand that?  If Franken or Franks think they're teaching a lesson by example to Trump and Moore, I think they're mistaken. They're teaching an anti-example.

102 comments:

William said...

The mechanism that Congress used to have for investigating such accusations could more accurately be described as a mechanism for covering up misconduct. Perhaps the pendulum is moving too far in the opposite direction, but the Congressmen are the ones who generated that momentum.

dreams said...

Yeah, you have to fight back against attacks that you know are false. Trump fights the liberals which is why he is so liked and so hated.

eric said...

When this guy quits like this I find myself thinking, "He must be guilty of so much more."

When someone fights back like Trump and Moore I find myself thinking, "He is fighting back because he didn't do it."

Rob said...

I'd speculate that the problem was a suggestion that the sperm donation take place in bed rather than via an impersonal medical procedure. Eliminate the middleman, as it were.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MayBee said...

Apparently the woman who accused Roy Moore with Gloria Allred is going to announce today she forged the date in her yearbook, but still he signed it for real.

StoughtonSconnie said...

I read somewhere (I think Instapundit, but I could be wrong) that the Congressman didn't just talk about surrogacy with two staffers, he asked them to be surrogates for his wife and him. From an employer/employee perspective, that crosses all kinds of ethical lines.

FleetUSA said...

Those women seem to be snowflakes. They have to understand life.

Alternatively, they are progressives out to bag any Republican that they can.

dreams said...

Fake but accurate!

Sebastian said...

"What's so terrible about that, especially after he acknowledges that the discussion made the employees uncomfortable and expresses regret. Can't we all move on?"

No. Making employees--female employees--uncomfortable is the most terrible thing a man can do. No regret can make up for that sin. The only thing that can move on is the witch hunt.

MayBee said...

Yeah I'm trying to figure out if this guy asked his staffers to be surrogates, or if they think he did...???

Inga said...

I think Franks is resigning before the House Ethics Committee investigation because there is more to his story about an innocent discussion of surrogacy with his two staffers. I suspect he asked them to be surrogates for him and perhaps he asked them if he could impregnate them the old fashioned way.

Nonapod said...

my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives

"Noble", that's a good'un.

jaydub said...

The current environment in DC is a regeneration of the Clinton perfected politics of personal destruction from the 90's. Only now it's the press and the feminists swinging the wrecking ball. Anyone who's going to survive the inquisition needs to have an attitude more like Trump than Franken or Franks.

Gahrie said...

What's so terrible about that, especially after he acknowledges that the discussion made the employees uncomfortable and expresses regret.

He supposedly asked some of his employees to become a surrogate for him and his wife.

I still don't think it rises to the level of harassment or deserves resignation.

Bob Boyd said...

It wasn't what he said to his staffers. It was that dripping turkey baster he was waving around when he said it.

eric said...

Blogger MayBee said...
Apparently the woman who accused Roy Moore with Gloria Allred is going to announce today she forged the date in her yearbook, but still he signed it for real.


I'm starting to think Gloria is a Republican.

tcrosse said...

I think Franks is resigning before the House Ethics Committee investigation because there is more to his story about an innocent discussion of surrogacy with his two staffers.

There could even be some non-sexual naughtiness that we know nothing about, and he wants to keep it that way. The sex angle makes a good cover these days.

BJK said...

The level of detail in the Franks explanation for his resignation is curious.

The subject of surrogacy could be anything from a clinical discussion of the process, to the suggestive ("I want to put a baby inside you"). Given there has been an ethics investigation, I can only assume things tended towards the latter.

dreams said...

He has something that is at least embarrassing that he doesn't want revealed.

Inga said...

“There could even be some non-sexual naughtiness that we know nothing about, and he wants to keep it that way. The sex angle makes a good cover these days.”

Asking your female subordinates to be a surrogate for you is not only creepy and terribly inappropriate, it puts the female staffers in an untenable situation. After saying no, they then have to worry about some retaliation. If he did ask to have sex with them to impregnate them, it’s outright sexual harassmentment.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tcrosse said...

Asking your female subordinates to be a surrogate for you is not only creepy and terribly inappropriate, it puts the female staffers in an untenable situation.

Granted. That is sufficiently awful. But it's possible there's more.

Nonapod said...

Yeah to me his resigning like that is pretty damning. Career politicians who go through all the time and effort of a successful congressional campaign and serve in Congress for 15 years don't just resign because of an ethics investigation if they didn't really do anything wrong and it was all just some sort of awkward misunderstanding during conversations about surrogacy with female staffers.

Ipso Fatso said...

Reading between the lines, I think our good man wanted to make a "Direct Deposit" with one or both of his staffers. Your mileage may vary.

Amadeus 48 said...

I don't think either Franken or Franks should resign--which, of course, neither of them has done, yet. Franken, if he resigns, is a sacrifice on the altar of convenience. Franks sounds like there is more to his life than service in the House of Representatives. Or maybe he is getting out of school before the report cards come out.

Strange times. I eagerly await the report on 30-50 HR members with harassment charges against them. This is like the members' expenses controversy in the British Houses of Parliament a few years ago.

For a different look at all this, see Claire Berlinski's article in The American Interest and Allison Benedikt's in Slate, both cited by Instapundit today.

Sally327 said...

Resigning is not vindication in any way, it's really a plea of nolo contendere. You're accepting a guilty plea and avoiding the allocution. So basically admitting guilt without saying it, there's really no other way to spin it that's credible, whether you meant it to be that way or not, whatever you might say about your intentions, how you're protecting the institution, your family, etc., as if it's all a painful but necessary noble sacrifice. I do it for the children... ya de ya. Which I guess in this case the Congressman really was, doing it for the children I mean.

CJinPA said...

Now, Donald Trump and Judge Roy Moore. Those guys will stand their ground forever and take it. Do you understand that? If Franken or Franks think they're teaching a lesson by example to Trump and Moore, I think they're mistaken. They're teaching an anti-example.

All of this is political calculation. If the Minnesota governor was Republican, there would be no Dem chorus to remove Franken. If the GOP could remove Moore from the ballot and hold the seat, it would.

And then there's Trump. The narrative is being shaped to box in Trump, as in, "Well, everyone has been dispatched. And we won't let the story die until Trump is gone."

Between that and Mueller, he get a lot done while they're distracted.

MadisonMan said...

The pursuit of children in those of dubious fertility can really affect a marriage and rational thought. I consider the possibility that the Congressman is trying to protect his wife.

But there's also the possibility that he wanted his staff members to be surrogates, which is very creepy -- but again, when you're trying to have children, you can easily enter into the realm of not rational thought.

I don't think he's obligated to give the complete story.

Bob Boyd said...

Franks: "In retrospect, I understand how dimming the lights and trying to sing that Paul Anka song using the turkey baster as a microphone could have been seen as...unprofessional."

DKWalser said...

I'd like to thank Inga for letting us know what the rules are for appropriate conversations in this area. Because, without her input I would have thought the answer to whether or not is was appropriate to raise a particular topic depended as much on how the subject was raised, when it was raised, and where it was raised, as it did on the topic itself.


Finding a surrogate can be difficult. You want someone you can trust with a very important role -- carrying your baby to term. How do you find that person unless you look to the people you know? In that light, being asked to be a surrogate could be viewed as a high compliment. At the same time, it's a 'big ask' and I'm sure Franks was prepared for and ready to accept a rejection.

Having said that, I'd like to ask a serious question: Where do we go to know what the current rules are for male/female interactions in the workplace? When I was a new professional, one of the frequent complaints from females was that their male coworkers never noticed a change in hairstyle or a new dress. I was taught it was appropriate to say something like, "Is that a new dress? It looks nice." (I never said anything of the sort. I cannot tell when my wife wears something new, so I have zero chance of noting when one of my coworkers wears a new outfit.) We were told it was appropriate to say, "That hairstyle looks good on you." But, now, I think we're being told that such comments are always and completely out of line. So. where are the updated rules.

Kate said...

His wife had 3 miscarriages. Then they used a surrogate for twins. Some wives might have considered this deeply personal information. At the minimum, he gossiped about the procedure around the office. Maybe he's a decent man who's trying to protect his family now.

Probably not.

MayBee said...

Asking your female subordinates to be a surrogate for you is not only creepy and terribly inappropriate, it puts the female staffers in an untenable situation. After saying no, they then have to worry about some retaliation.

You know.....not everything the boss asks about puts people in the position of the fear of retaliation. Or I should say, if everything does than nothing does.
I didn't go to the party he invited me to. I fear retaliation.

Jupiter said...

I watched Franken's speech, and I have to say I think he made perfect sense. He said that he doesn't think he has done anything that would justify the calls for his resignation, and a dispassionate investigation by the ethics committee would bear that out, but when twenty of your fellow Senators, from your own party, demand that you resign, for the good of that Party, then it would be selfishness amounting to narcissism to try to stay and fight.

Franks seems to be saying something similar. People differ markedly in the matter of how much shit they are willing to eat for the privilege of being in the House of Representatives.

MayBee said...

Jupiter- yeah, I don't get the confusion over Franken's speech. I see CNN pretending to have the same confusion. But why in the world should he admit to doing something he doesn't think he did, just to assuage the masses.
We put people who have been found guilty in court through the same charade. Maybe they really didn't do it! But all the sudden we want them to be contrite.

Mountain Maven said...

Cilizzaz work is beneath contempt

Ralph L said...

People will think he's related to Barney.

Matthew Sablan said...

Wait - wait. I thought he had conversations about *THEM BECOMING SURROGATES* not just surrogacy in general.

Which was it?

rhhardin said...

Telling your accusers to fuck off isn't a dismissal. It's an invitation to produce an argument instead of feelz.

It's telling feelz to fuck off.

rhhardin said...

Resigning is support for feelz over argument.

Mark said...

The Trent Franks situation sounds like, "I don't need this crap. There are things more important than holding government office anyway."

rhhardin said...

Sandra Bullock said her regret in becoming a mother was she wasn't able to get her agent to carry the baby for her.

tim in vermont said...

It's like the old days where members of the aristocracy were allowed to beat peasants on the street with a cane if they felt like it. Except it's women over men now.

mockturtle said...

Franken makes a valid point about behavior as a Senator. Just as Obama used cocaine earlier in his life, so many--perhaps most of us--have done shameful things in our past. The fact that Moore's unacceptable behavior happened 40 years ago should make it off limits, IMO. [Incidentally, the news is out that one of Moore's accusers forged at least part of the yearbook entry that was damaging.]

Note: 'Conflicting Edits' remain an issue.

Freeman Hunt said...

So did he ask them to be surrogates or not?

You can't ask a subordinate to be your surrogate like you can't ask him to give you a kidney.

n.n said...

Surrogacy? His wife is unable to conceive or carry to term? That's it?

His persecutors do not show even a hint of tolerance or evidence that they are capable of adult decorum.

Matthew Sablan said...

[Incidentally, the news is out that one of Moore's accusers forged at least part of the yearbook entry that was damaging.]

-- My understanding is that it was the only actual damaging part, the date and location, that she's admitting to adding. Which means that their initial statement (Moore wrote all of this!) is false. I hope Moore didn't assault her, because it is going to be very hard to be considered credible after lying to the public for, what, a week or two?

Amexpat said...

The way things are right now, the member of Congress cannot pursue vindication through the established process.

That's not what's happening. They're quitting because they've done stuff that won't stand up to scrutiny. They're just using that as a clumsy attempt to make a graceful, dignified exit.

David said...

Bizarre? Why would it not be bizarre? We have become a bazaar of bizarre.

n.n said...

The fact that Moore's unacceptable behavior happened 40 years ago

It's still only an allegation with one witness, the accuser, numerous hearsay witnesses, a press with pitchforks in hand, and no forensic evidence. His other behavior became unacceptable with a changing culture and evolutionary development. Then there is social progress that sexualized children, closed the socially acceptable age gap, and third, fourth whatever wave feminists and abortion rites that enabled it.

Mac McConnell said...

I agree with Madison Man at 10:47.
I've been asked a least six times to have children with single professional women, three I worked with, three acquaintances. I dated none of them. I was flattered they asked, I didn't run to HR and I tried to understand their desires to be mothers with empathy. I declined because I wasn't sure I could be emotionally absent from a child I "fathered".
I know congress people get very close to their staffs, almost like family. For all we know this was just a poor attempt of asking someone you thought was close to you or he was just trying to fuck them.
I always thought this surrogacy thing was all the rage with the left and feminist.

Mac McConnell said...

The Moore accuser added the date and "old Hickory" to her yearbook. Is Gloria Aldred on drugs?

n.n said...

Surrogacy became the rage with ever older, dysfunctional women, who may or may not have had abortion(s), and transgender/homosexual males who wish to be fathers.

Jupiter said...

MayBee said...
"Jupiter- yeah, I don't get the confusion over Franken's speech. I see CNN pretending to have the same confusion. But why in the world should he admit to doing something he doesn't think he did, just to assuage the masses."

It seems pretty clear that he did pose for the photo of him with his hands over his colleague's breasts, and he regards that as a failed attempt at humor. And he is saying that the gals who have come out of the woodwork claiming he grabbed their asses during photo ops are liars. Which, you have to wonder, does Mike Pence do photo ops? He may need to update his rules to never being within 20 feet of a man, woman, child or dog. I think cats are still safe.

Matthew Sablan said...

Cats and dogs bite you right away if they think you're getting too grabby.

Trump, though, still grabs cats at least.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Franken makes a valid point about behavior as a Senator."

I'd be inclined to cut Franken more slack if I thought he would cut any Republican pol accused of the same thing any slack himself.

Chuck said...

I have to say that I admire your analysis in this post, Professor Althouse.

On previous occasions, Roy Moore has stood his ground, maintained his rightness, and demanded full due process. I think he got due process in those instances, and twice he was removed from his judicial duties as a result.

If Moore is elected to the Senate on Tuesday -- and part of my being as a loyal Republican, interested in the long-term health of the Party, hopes he loses -- then Moore will, I expect, be subject to all of the due process that the Senate Ethics Committee has to offer. And I think it will be a good thing.

Drago said...

LLR Chuck: "...and part of my being as a loyal Republican, interested in the long-term health of the Party, hopes he loses -..."

LOL

Yancey Ward said...

Has anyone actually written what Franks said to these two women? From his statement, I would guess he told the women how much they could make being surrogates, or offered to pay them to be surrogate mothers. I could certainly imagine both crude and totally innocent ways to discuss such a matter with women.

exiledonmainstreet said...

One of my older brothers met his wife at work when they were both in their early 20s and she got a job as a receptionist at the company he was working at. He took to hanging around the front desk and flirting with her. She did not initially want to go out with him, but he persisted. Finally she gave in and agreed. They have been married for 42 years and have 3 kids and a new grandchild.

Today? What man in his right mind would dare to flirt with the receptionist? And to continue to ask her out after she had turned him down a couple of times already? Stalking! Harassment! Because no woman has ever played hard to get or changed her mind about dating a man.

Obviously, Weinstein style harassment and threatening is unacceptable. How to set a happy medium here without turning the world – and work – into a drab, gray place where women have to be treated like they are disembodied spirits ?

Jim at said...

So. where are the updated rules?

Well, considering they're changing by the minute - in conjunction with latest, leftist spaz-out - I'd say the Mike Pence Rule remains the best option.

You know, the Rule that all the smart people laughed at?

exiledonmainstreet said...

I should add that my brother was also fresh out of college and in an entry-level job at the time, so it's not like he had any power to fire her or dock his future wife's pay or anything. So that makes a difference.

But some women do want to date their bosses. I know a few women who met their physician husbands when they got jobs in their offices. That's not as common as it once was - physicians now are more likely to marry other physicians - but it still happens.

Yancey Ward said...

StoughtonSconnie wrote:

"I read somewhere (I think Instapundit, but I could be wrong) that the Congressman didn't just talk about surrogacy with two staffers, he asked them to be surrogates for his wife and him. From an employer/employee perspective, that crosses all kinds of ethical lines."

Well, no it doesn't really cross a red line, in my opinion. Sure, it is wiser to advertise the job and let the women self-select into making the offer, but I see nothing particularly wrong in asking someone you know, even an employee to see if they would be interested in being a surrogate for him and his wife. Where it would cross a red line would be if pressure were applied, or if it were done very crudely as a few of the commenter above suggested it might have. That is why I would really need to see what the complaint by the women really was- if it really is just that he asked them if they would be willing to be surrogates, then he is wrong to resign and they were probably wrong in filing the complaint in the first place.

That he did say he will resign makes me think there is probably more to it than we are seeing. Like Eric above, when someone fights back, I tend to give that person's denial more weight, and when they resign I tend to think they are likely guilty to some extent, or at least have more to hide.

Inga said...

“Franks’s announcement came as the House Ethics Committee said it would create a special subcommittee to investigate Franks for conduct “that constitutes sexual harassment and/or retaliation for opposing sexual harassment.

While 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 did not respond to a request for comment on that claim.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s office said in a statement Thursday that Ryan (R-Wis.) had been briefed on “credible claims of misconduct” by Franks last week, after the House general counsel was contacted about the allegations and investigated them.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rep-trent-franks-of-arizona-is-expected-to-resign/2017/12/07/479d156a-db9f-11e7-b859-fb0995360725_story.html?utm_term=.3cdbd64efd11

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Another Alford plea. Let me mansplain a social rule of dignity. If the man is resigning, he doesn't have to explain exactly how what he did was wrong. That's no longer his job (and never was, although some people do it in an attempt to save their job).

Gospace said...

Mac McConnell said...
I agree with Madison Man at 10:47.
I've been asked a least six times to have children with single professional women, three I worked with, three acquaintances. I dated none of them. I was flattered they asked, I didn't run to HR and I tried to understand their desires to be mothers with empathy. I declined because I wasn't sure I could be emotionally absent from a child I "fathered".


Did they happen to mention to you that if the sperm donation isn't done through a third party certified medical fertility clinic that any legal documents you and her signed agreeing that she would take full fiscal responsibility for raising the child were null and void should she change her mind? And that you would be on the hook for full child support? More than one man has been caught up in this.

Unknown said...

Frank resigned because subjecting his family the tender mercies of the democrat-media party was not worth a fucking job. Good for him, now we can get a lying sleaze in there who is approved by the democrat-media party.

Yancey Ward said...

As for the yearbook, I stand by what I said 2 weeks ago- it looked to me that Moore probably did write the inscription, the "Christmas 1977", but that everything after "Roy" was added in a different ink by the accuser. At that time, I wrote that it was done to ensure that no one questioned it was Roy Moore, and that no one question it was the Roy Moore- that is why she added "DA" which she almost certainly remember from her own case that she had before Moore in 1999.

Yancey Ward said...

"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."

If this is all he did- asked them- then I consider him innocent in this case. That he is resigning tells me there is probably more to it than that, but I could be wrong.

Drago said...

Jim at: "You know, the Rule that all the smart people laughed at?"

Those would be all those "sophisticated", "educated" and "in the know" folks LLR Chuck is always raving about and wanting to associate himself with.

Reasonable conclusions may be drawn.

mockturtle said...

and part of my being as a loyal Republican, interested in the long-term health of the Party, hopes he loses

Some rare humor from Chuckles.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Rod Dreher clutches the pearl necklace someone gave him

narayanan said...

what are the chances - he could just be an idiot republican
... who does not understand nuance

madAsHell said...

if they would serve as a surrogate mother for his child.

Maybe his proposal was something less delicate....."Bitch you be my baby mama!"

Jupiter said...

"That he did say he will resign makes me think there is probably more to it than we are seeing. Like Eric above, when someone fights back, I tend to give that person's denial more weight, and when they resign I tend to think they are likely guilty to some extent, or at least have more to hide."

Well, that is a nice explication of your psychology, but probably not an especially valid forensic principle. I believe Bill Clinton's rule was "Deny, deny, deny". And Bill Clinton knows a lot about denial. Hillary could never play in his league, as she recently discovered. A good liar manages to believe his lie while he's telling it. A great liar manages to act like he believes it while he still keeps track of the truth, to make sure he doesn't make any mistakes.

Jupiter said...

Chuck said...

"If Moore is elected to the Senate on Tuesday -- and part of my being as a loyal Republican, interested in the long-term health of the Party, hopes he loses --"

You can let go now, Chuckles. The Party is in good hands, and we will see to its future. You worked so hard, for so long, now it's time for you to rest. You are getting sleepy ...

Mac McConnell said...

Chuck
On what grounds does a Senate Ethics Committee have for actions 40 years prior to being sworn in as a Senator, NONE.

Franken's problems are that he was an alleged groper prior to and after he was sworn in. If he hadn't continued he would have had just a bad rep from when he was younger private citizen.

Krumhorn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jupiter said...

Matthew Sablan said...
"Cats and dogs bite you right away if they think you're getting too grabby."

Well, or if they don't do it right away, they don't decide to try and do it later.

Static Ping said...

I was baffled by the reveal myself, though a good portion of it was because I had not considered surrogacy as a possible topic. It is very much an obscure thing for most people.

It is inappropriate to ask a subordinate to be a surrogate unless the subordinate brings it up first. The subordinate is going to feel pressured and this is a very intrusive request. It's roughly on par with asking the person to live with you, even if there is no sexual relationship desired and it is a perfectly normal living arrangement.

That said, it is not necessarily what I would consider an offense that would require termination. It is more of a "yes, we understand that you and your wife really want to have another baby and we understand that life has made that difficult for you, but please take care of this on your private time with your private resources and stop asking creepy questions to the employees." People with unique issues tend to get obsessed over them and start living in a bubble. Pointing out that the bubble is making them act stupid is usually sufficient.

Of course, there are creepy questions and there are creepy questions. It may be wrong to ask the question, but there are very wrong ways to ask the question that would get anyone fired. We do not have the details to make that judgment.

Mac McConnell said...

Why would any male congressmen ever hire a female staff member again?

Mac McConnell said...

If I feel close and trust a staff member enough why would I fire her if she said no to surrogacy? Is there any indication he fired her? Surrogacy isn't that strange in these times. Christ there are probably Hallmark movies about it.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Are we really to the point where women are such delicate flowers that they cannot handle someone asking them a question? You know, with words, not cattle prods or handcuffs?

MaxedOutMama said...

Reportedly, not only was he asking young women in the office if they were willing to be surrogates, he was also suggesting that he would sleep with them to get them pregnant.

To me, he crossed a clear line. Absolutely, he should go.

readering said...

From news report:

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) resigned from Congress on Friday following reports he repeatedly asked two former staffers about acting as a surrogate for him and his wife, eventually offering one of them $5 million to bear his child, the Associated Press reported Friday.

According to Politico, the women were concerned Franks “was asking to have sexual relations with them” and said it wasn’t clear whether the congressman wanted to impregnate them through intercourse or via in vitro fertilization.

One of the female staffers who declined his request said she was later retaliated against, Politico reported.

Mac McConnell said...

HEADLINE OVERSELLS A BIT: Female aides said Franks suggested intercourse to impregnate them. Only here’s what the story actually says: “The sources said Franks approached two female staffers about acting as a potential surrogate for him and his wife, who has struggled with fertility issues for years. But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization.”

Glenn Reynolds

readering said...

More:

A former staffer also alleged that Franks tried to persuade a female aide that they were in love by having her read an article that described how a person knows they’re in love with someone, the sources said. One woman believed she was the subject of retribution after rebuffing Franks. While she enjoyed access to the congressman before the incident, that access was revoked afterward, she told Republican leaders.

Mac McConnell said...

Yes, he offer them $5 million.

Sacto_Dave said...

I don't get it either. What's so terrible about asking? I'd think it would be flattering to think he thought enough of them to consider letting them be a surrogate. Besides he offered a ton of money.

I've known of single women asking single men to be their surrogate. Happened to someone close to me. I never thought it was weird.

Sacto_Dave said...

Word is there's a big story coming out by the WaPo or some such big news org that's going to expose a lot of congress persons. Maybe he's just clearing out before the storm.

MaxedOutMama said...

Pants - repeatedly? At a minimum, this makes it appear that Franks might have been using his office funding to attempt to line up reproductive services.

Advertise like everyone else!

Would you advise your daughter, married to an infertile husband and running a successful company, to try discussing being a sperm donor with some of her young male staffers? Shit no. It should be obvious that asking for AN EMPLOYEE's help in conceiving your child is a type of sexual harassment.

readering said...

It sounds to me like Franks knew he had exposure to a lot of stuff and like Garrison Keillor elected to focus on one accusation that he thought he could best spin his way.

Angel-Dyne said...

Also in the letter, as summarized by Cillizza, after Franks's wife had 3 miscarriages, the couple were able to use a surrogate to produced twins, and they wanted more children. That was a topic he discussed with 2 of his female employees. What's so terrible about that, especially after he acknowledges that the discussion made the employees uncomfortable and expresses regret.

Man, if I complained about all the co-workers I've had over the years getting TMI on me by my standards, I would've had half the people I ever worked with sacked.

Angel-Dyne said...

OK, it looks like there's more to the story here than TMI.

loudogblog said...

Yeah, it looks like he was propositioning some of his staff to let him personally impregnate them.
https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/08/trent-franks-sex-surrogacy-impregnate-287808

Char Char Binks said...

"Why would any male congressmen ever hire a female staff member again?"

Because male staff members can't be surrogate mothers. DUH!!!

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

But the aides were concerned that Franks was asking to have sexual relations with them. It was not clear to the women whether he was asking about impregnating the women through sexual intercourse or in vitro fertilization.

Yeah, I just can't really get on board with the BURN HIM thing here when we have women who aren't even adult enough to have a clear understanding of the conversation that took place or whether he actually in fact did this horrible awful unforgivable thing.

These allegations seem extremely vague and all seem to boil down to 'he made me feel icky.' Grow up, ladies.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Would you advise your daughter, married to an infertile husband and running a successful company, to try discussing being a sperm donor with some of her young male staffers? Shit no. It should be obvious that asking for AN EMPLOYEE's help in conceiving your child is a type of sexual harassment.

Probably not, no, but it's not even clear that that's remotely what happened. Besides, sperm is cheap and surrogacy is lucrative. None of us were there but it's possible he thought he was doing them a favor; he'd already successfully been down that road before so his concept of it was a woman cheerfully pocketing the money and helping another couple start a family; everyone wins, right? That's at least as plausible to me as this 'zomg he might have been suggesting that he have sex with me I don't even know aaaaiiieeeeeeee someone save me' business.

mockturtle said...

Grow up, ladies.

We can hope, Pants, but we should not hold our breath.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I'll just make the observation that these women were selected by or under the guidance of Franks to work for him, that he observed them over long periods of time and could make a good estimate of their true value. I'd imagine he meant it as the greatest possible compliment.

Illusions said...

The reason he resigned was because it was later learned he took retaliatory actions against the woman he asked to be a surrogate after she turned him down.

mockturtle said...

Will we see a spate of eunuchs running for office next year?