Al Franken to resign from the Senate in January

Democratic senator and comedian accused of sexual harassment sets date for resignation from US Senate.

David Rosenberg ,

Minnesota Senator Al Franken
Minnesota Senator Al Franken

Minnesota Senator and former Saturday Night Live writer and actor Al Franken will resign from the US Senate on January 2nd, following accusations of sexual harassment by multiple women over the past 14 years.

The first allegations were publicized in November, when TV and radio personality Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of groping her while she was asleep and forcibly kissing her during a USO tour for US soldiers stationed in the Middle East in December 2006.

A picture taken of Franken appearing to reach out to grope Tweeden while she was asleep was circulated as proof Franken had molested her, though Franken insisted the photograph was evidence of nothing more than a childish prank.

“I certainly don’t remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way,” said Franken, “but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it.”

Later that month, a second women claimed Franken touched her inappropriately.

On November 26th, Franken said he was “ashamed” of his actions, but insisted that he would remain in the Senate.

Days later, however, two more women accused Franken of sexual misconduct, prompting a number of Congressional Democrats to push the two-term Minnesota Democrat to resign.

Earlier this month, Franken indicated that he would be leaving office in the near future, but provided no specific date.

"It's become clear that I can't both pursue the ethics committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator ... I may be resigning my seat, but I will not be giving up my voice," Franken said on the Senate floor.

Franken will be replaced by Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, a Democrat.

Smith, 59, was appointed by Governor Mark Dayton to serve as interim senator until a special election in November 2018. The winner of the special election will serve until the end of class II term in January, 2021.

First elected in 2008 by a razor-thin margin of just 312 votes, Franken maintained a consistently progressive-liberal voting record, earning a 100% rating from the pro-abortion group Planned Parenthood, a 5% rating from the fiscally-conservative National Taxpayers Union, and a 100% rating from the Americans For Democratic Action group. In 2015, Franken backed then-President Obama’s controversial Iran nuclear deal.