U.S. Rep. Martha McSally announced she will donate to veterans groups the more than $16,000 her campaign received from former U.S. Rep. Trent Franks.

The announcement comes less than a day after Franks surprise announcement that he would leave the House amid allegations that he asked female staffers to be surrogates for his child.

“Congresswoman McSally, like everyone else is just learning about the disturbing allegations regarding former Congressman Franks. Immediately after Congresswoman McSally learned about the allegations, she decided to donate all the funds she has received from Rep. Franks to a veterans’ charity," said Andrea Bozek, a McSally campaign spokeswoman.

She said McSally's quick response to donate the funds is in sharp contrast to Democrats Kirsten Sinema and Ann Kirkpatrick, who both received donations from the spouses of the Backpage.com founders in previous campaign cycles.

Both Sinema and Kirkpatrick donated the funds from Backpage to charity earlier this year.

"They kept the contributions even after the pimps were arrested and only returned the donations after being pressured by the media," Bozek said.

A spokesperson for Kirkpatrick, Rodd McLeod, said Kirkpatrick donated the money as soon as she was made aware of the information. 

"Trent Franks’ reputation for misconduct has been well known for years in McSally’s workplace, yet she chose him as her mentor, and has not spoken one word against him, President Trump or Roy Moore," he said. "Only after McSally shows the integrity to speak truth to power, will she have the credibility to criticize other women."

Franks gave $2,000 to McSally on in September, another $4,000 in 2016, $6,733 in 2014 and $3,633 in 2012, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The Arizona Democratic Party had demanded on Friday that McSally and state Sen. Steve Smith — who is running in Arizona Congressional District 1 — return the money that Franks and his political action committee gave them.

Franks' PAC, Defending America's Future, gave Smith's campaign $1,000 in June.

A representative for the Smith campaign did not return calls seeking comment.


Reporter with the Arizona Daily Star. I cover politics as well as the city of Tucson and other municipalities in Southern Arizona.