Amid new allegations, lawmakers call for Franken to resign

The senator will make an announcement Thursday.

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, speaks at an event at TCF Bank Stadium on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Over 20 Democratic senators have called on Franken to resign after a new sexual misconduct allegation surfaced Wednesday.

Daily File Photo

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, speaks at an event at TCF Bank Stadium on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Over 20 Democratic senators have called on Franken to resign after a new sexual misconduct allegation surfaced Wednesday.

Nick Wicker

A mounting number of Democratic legislators in Minnesota and around the U.S. are calling on Sen. Al Franken to resign.

The new effort came after multiple women accused Franken of sexual misconduct, starting in mid-November when radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of groping her in 2006. By Nov. 22, news reports showed four women accused Franken of inappropriate touching, often during photo opportunities. Since the first accusation, several women have publicly alleged Franken groped or attempted to forcibly kiss them, according to multiple news outlets.

Just a day before the push for Franken to resign, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, announced he would leave his seat after multiple allegations of sexual harassment from past employees.

The list of Democratic Party senators calling on Franken to step down quickly expanded to over half of all Democrats in the Senate after Politico broke a story Wednesday that another woman had come forward to allege Franken had tried to forcibly kiss her in 2006 when she was a Democratic congressional aide.

Prominent Democrats, including Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, are among those calling for the resignation.

On Nov. 27, Franken made a statement apologizing to those accusing him of misconduct, saying he was “ashamed” and “embarrassed” but that he would return to work at the Senate. His previous statements addressed accusers directly. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was among the legislators who criticized Franken. She announced she spoke with him Wednesday in an afternoon tweet. 

Klobuchar had previously taken his place to sponsor a bill he drafted with University alumna Abby Honold aimed at helping sexual assault victims. Honold requested Franken’s name be removed after the first accusations.

A tweet published Wednesday announced the senator would make an announcement Thursday morning, though it did not disclose further information.

If Franken resigns Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton would appoint an interim replacement until a special election in the fall of 2018 decides who will serve the rest of Franken’s six-year term, which expires in 2021.