Dem Senators Up for Reelection in 2018 Give Away Franken Contributions

• November 16, 2017 5:24 pm


A growing list of Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 are donating to charity campaign money that they received from Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) or his leadership PAC, following allegations that Franken groped and kissed a woman without her consent in 2006.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) joined that list on Thursday afternoon, saying on MSNBC that Franken's alleged behavior "isn't acceptable."

Beyond Baldwin, at leave five Democratic senators—Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Bob Casey (Pa.), and Joe Donnelly (Ind.)—said they will give the contributions from Franken or his Midwest Values PAC to local charities, Politico reported Thursday.

The Midwest Values PAC has donated $140,500 to Democratic House and Senate candidates who are up for reelection in 2018.

The senators opted to give away the campaign cash after KABC anchor Leeann Tweeden wrote Thursday that Franken kissed her without consent during a rehearsal while they were both on a USO trip overseas. In her story, Tweeden also included an image of Franken grabbing her breasts while she was asleep on the flight back.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky) called for the Ethics Committee to review the allegations against Franken.

"I am glad that it is going to the Ethics Committee in the Senate for an investigation," Baldwin said. "And I will say for my part, I will be donating campaign contributions from Senator Franken to a women's veteran initiative in the state of Wisconsin."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which helps the GOP win Senate seats across the country, on Thursday called on senators to "denounce" Franken and donate or return the money they received from him.

Beyond those who have already pledged to give back money from Franken, the NRSC said that Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), and Jon Tester (Mont.) have also received money from him or his PAC.

Kaine, Manchin, and Tester all did not respond to Politico‘s questions about whether they will give away the campaign cash.

Kaine received $5,000, Manchin received $10,000, and Tester received $25,000 from the Midwest Values PAC, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Franken has encouraged an ethics investigation into himself and said he will "gladly cooperate."