These Senators Are Giving Away Thousands in Campaign Donations From Al Franken After Sexual Harassment Accusation
Democratic Senators are giving away donations from their colleague Al Franken after he was accused of sexual harassment and faces the prospect of an ethics investigation within the chamber.
The offices of 11 Senators have confirmed to Fortune that they were donating contributions Franken had given their campaigns to charities: Tammy Baldwin, Wis.; Sherrod Brown, Ohio; Bob Casey, Penn.; Joe Donnelly, Ind.; Martin Heinrich, N.M.; Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.; Mazie Hirono, Hawaii; Claire McCaskill, Mo.; Bill Nelson, Fla.; Debbie Stabenow, Mich.; and Jon Tester, Mont.
Collectively, these contributions represent a total of more than $100,000.
In the 2018 cycle so far, Franken’s Political Action Committee, Midwestern Values Pac, has already contributed $115,000 to 16 of his colleagues, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The PAC also contributed a collective $25,500 to to nine candidates seeking election or reelection to the House of Representatives in 2018.
Franken found himself embroiled in controversy Thursday after Leeann Tweeden, a model, sportscaster, and radio host, said in a blog post that in 2006 the Senator, who was then working as a comedian, forced him to kiss her, and then groped her while she was asleep when they were on a USO tour in the Middle East. Franken was headlining the tour, and told Tweeden he had worked in a part that had them kiss, and subsequently insisted they rehearse that kiss.
“I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time,” she wrote in her post, describing the incident, adding that she felt “disgusted and violated.”
For more on the allegations against Senator Al Franken, watch Fortune’s video:
Abby Finkenauer, who is running for Congress in Iowa and received a $1,500 donation from Franken’s PAC, tweeted that she was giving the money to an Iowa non-profit that helps people impacted by sexual assault. “Democrats need to hold ourselves to the same standards we would demand of Republicans,” she wrote.
Franken apologized to Tweeden in a statement, which she said at a news conference that she accepted but wished it had come earlier. Multiple Senators have called for an ethics investigation, including Franken.
The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has…
“While I don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women’s experiences,” he said in a statement. “I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken, and I will gladly cooperate.”