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Democratic donor mulls pulling support for senators who told Franken to resign

MinnPost photo by Ibrahim Hirsi
Former Sen. Al Franken

In The New York Times, Jacey Fortin reports: “A prominent donor to the Democratic Party says she is considering withdrawing support for senators who urged their colleague Al Franken to resign after he was accused of sexual misconduct. The donor, Susie Tompkins Buell, has been one of the Democratic Party’s most generous supporters for decades. In particular, she has been a champion of female politicians, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York … . Buell said in a text message on Saturday that withdrawing support from the senators who called for his resignation was ‘an option’ she was considering. … Buell says those senators who called on Franken to step down after accusations ‘moved too fast.’ … ‘For me, this is dangerous and wrong,’ she added. ‘I am a big believer in helping more women into the political system but this has given me an opportunity to rethink of how I can best help my party.’”

Red flags. From the PiPress, Chad Graff writes: “Eight months before the University of Minnesota’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action recommended a suspension of more than two years for Gophers men’s basketball player Reggie Lynch, athletics director Mark Coyle was told the senior center had a history of sexual misconduct. It was May 1, 2017, almost exactly a year after the incident in Lynch’s dorm room involving a 20-year-old woman that led the EOAA on Thursday to recommend the athlete be suspended and banned from campus until at least Aug. 1, 2020. Abby Honold, a 22-year-old former U student and rape survivor, was there to talk to Coyle and two other administrators about sexual assault awareness and education, but before she left, she gave them a warning. Honold said Friday that she told Coyle months ago that she knew of ‘multiple other victims’ of sexual misconduct involving Lynch.”

Off to camp. Also from the PiPress, Mary Divine writes: “Former Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki will begin serving his prison sentence at noon Monday at the minimum-security federal prison camp in Duluth. Harycki, who pleaded guilty of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government of millions of dollars, was sentenced in September in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis to one year and one day in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. His prison sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release. Harycki, 54, could have faced more prison time and could have been forced to begin his sentence immediately, but U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery ordered the minimum sentence that she could, said Tom Brever, one of Harycki’s attorneys.”

Good, but not as good. Stribbers Neal St. Anthony and Patrick Kennedy say, “Last year was a great one for big-stock investors. Not necessarily, however, if you only owned a basket of big ­Minnesota firms. ‘Minnesota companies have a history of participating, but lagging hot markets,’ said Mark Henneman, chief executive of Mairs and Power, the St. Paul-based investment manager. Mairs and Power’s Minnesota-heavy growth fund returned 16 percent last year and a strong 9 percent annually over the last decade. However, last year’s double-digit return lagged the performance of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index of the nation’s largest companies and its tech-heavy superstars of the last few years.”

Is there a solution waiting at the end of this? Beena Raghavendran of the Strib says, “One of the state’s most closely watched education lawsuits in years is heading to the Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday, accusing state officials of shirking their responsibilities to educate poor and minority students. The case could prompt dramatic demographic changes in schools, including the first metrowide school desegregation plan in two decades. But before that, the Supreme Court has to weigh in on judicial authority: Can the courts decide whether the state failed in its responsibility to adequately educate students?”

On the agenda: an earful. Says Frederick Melo in the PiPress, “Restaurant workers will weigh in Monday on how St. Paul should structure changes to the citywide minimum wage. The Citizen’s League, a nonpartisan public interest group, is working with the city to study the pros and cons of likely changes to the minimum wage. The league will accept comments from restaurant workers from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at Sweeney’s Saloon, 96 N. Dale St., St. Paul. Among the issues, restaurant workers remain divided over a possible ‘tip credit,’ or exemption for tipped employees.”

In case you were thinking Tom Brady-like dynastyESPN’s Adam Schefter says“Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is one of the most in-demand head-coaching candidates interviewing for vacant jobs, but there’s one additional reason his candidacy is attractive, especially to a team in need of a quarterback. If Shurmur ends up being hired by a quarterback-needy team that he has interviewed with — Arizona and the Giants stand out — he could bring Vikings free-agent-quarterback-to-be Case Keenum with him, league sources told ESPN. Shurmur and Keenum have developed a close working relationship in which the two men ‘both think very highly of each other,’ according to one source.”


Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Sandra Marks on 01/08/2018 - 09:36 am.

    Hey, Susie Tompkins Buell…

    We can debate all we want, but pulling out the checkbook is the great leveler. I can’t condone Franken’s behavior, however, there should have been an investigation/process to follow before he stepped down.

  2. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 01/08/2018 - 09:45 am.

    Credit ALEC

    Tip credit? It’s a tip deduction. Only ALEC and it’s allies like to call it a tip credit.


  3. Submitted by Cameron Parkhurst on 01/08/2018 - 10:56 am.

    Franken was going to be a liability

    It is not possible to have a nuanced argument about the gradations of boorish behavior vs harassing behavior, and defending Franken by saying what he did is not as bad as others is not a winning argument. I don’t believe that many people are going to engage in that discussion. What he did was wrong, and what Moore did was wrong, and what the others did was wrong.

    Also, does anyone ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, Franken made the decision to step down on his own? Do you all truly believe that he stepped down only because his colleagues said he should? Sure there was pressure, but he is a “big boy” and maybe he made the decision that was best for him.

  4. Submitted by John Evans on 01/08/2018 - 12:18 pm.

    Franken said he resigned because he could not be effective.

    That’s because his Democratic colleagues were forcing him out. It’s very unlikely that the ethics committee process would have found much of a case for expulsion. He likely would have been sanctioned, apologized very sincerely and used the occasion as a teachable moment for the country on sexual harassment. That’s what he’s really, really good at.

    I’m with Susie Tompkins Buell on this, and I would apply the principle locally as well. Franken’s prospects darkened considerably when Rebecca Otto and Erin Murphy called for Franken’s head almost immediately after the first (and perhaps the least credible) accusation.

    Their theatrics hid more than a little self-interest, since the resignation was almost certain to result in Dayton appointing one of the three most prominent, ambitious DFL women to fill the vacancy. Appointing any one of them would improve the prospects for each of the other two by removing a key competitor for the nomination in the governor’s race.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 01/08/2018 - 04:29 pm.

      Kirsten Gillibrand pretty much demanded Al go…

      And then she topped it off by discrediting Bill Clinton’s administration, despite the public character assassination the Clintons have suffered nearly their whole time in public life.

      Since Senator Gillibrand’s demand that we can’t be stuck “talking about nuances in sexual misbehavior”, that we in effect must be “purer than the GOP”, I have had an opportunity to review her history.

      She’s an opportunist whose ambition has flipped her position more than once.

      It is a sad day when Democrats cannot stick together.

      She wants to be the Prez.

      Al’s accusers include at least one liar and a joke about how sexy a flak jacket is when groping.

      It was Al Franken who got Sessions on the record lying about Russians. We owe him.

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