Sen Al Franken facing sexual harassment allegations
WASHINGTON, November 16, 2017 — Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is now facing accusations of sexual harassment stemming from a 2006 encounter with Los Angeles morning news anchor Leeann Tweeden.
The revelation has drawn calls for a Senate ethics investigation into Franken’s actions. Franken has apologized for the incident. This latest incident comes as a growing national furor over sexual harassment and misconduct.
The House even held a hearing in which members addressed what they see as a massive sexual harassment problem on the hill. Both parties have called on the Senate ethics committee to review Tweeden’s story against Franken.
The incident occurred during a USO event. In the skit, Franken was planning to kiss her. Tweeden alleges that Franken insisted they rehearse the scene but she refused. Franken later forced himself onto her.
“The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women. There’s more I want to say, but the first and most important thing—and if it’s the only thing you care to hear, that’s fine — is: I’m sorry,” Franken said in a published apology.
Tweeden later accepted the apology, saying she wasn’t looking for anything. Tweeden has said she is not asking for Franken to step down but her mind may change, if other women come forward with allegations.. The recent allegations shook the Capitol and several lawmakers from both parties.
“As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this,” McConnell said in a written statement. “Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else.”
Schumer also supported McConnell’s calls and also released a statement saying: “I hope and expect that the Ethics Committee will fully investigate this troubling incident, as they should with any credible allegation of sexual harassment.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a colleague of Franken’s, called his behavior “unacceptable and deeply disappointing” and said she looked forward to an investigation.
As the fallout continues, Republicans are attempting to connect Democrat senators who are running for re-election to Senator Franken. Republicans have demanded that Democratic candidates who have received funds from Franken to return those donations. Franken is up for reelection in 2020.