Franken campaign still working to pay off recount debt

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Almost a year after the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, the victor of that drawn-out battle — Sen. Al Franken — is still working to pay off nearly $500,000 in debt related to the recount, according to newly filed campaign finance reports.

Of the $450,859 that the Al Franken for Senate campaign still needs to pay off, $305,901is owed to Perkins Coie and $144,958is owed to Fredrickson & Byron — two law firms that provided legal assistance during the recount.

Franken’s campaign, with the help of the Franken Recount Fund, has steadily been climbing out of the debt that accrued during Franken’s months-long legal fight with former Sen. Norm Coleman. Just six months ago, the Franken campaign reported having over $1 million in unpaid bills.

This quarter, which ran from July to September, the recount fund coughed up another $90,494 in payments while the Al Franken for Senate Campaign disbursed $1,259,062.

Most of the Franken for Senate Campaign’s disbursements went to recount-related bills, according to Dinah Dale, a fundraising consultant for the campaign.

The Franken campaign also received $112,982 in court-ordered payments from the Coleman campaign.

In total, Dale said, the Franken team has made over $9.1 million in payments associated with the recount. The $450,859 represents the last of it, according to Dale.

And, with five years to go before the 2014 Senate races, Franken still has a lot of time to pull his campaign out of its financial hole and raise money for his next election.

Franken raised $120,895 in contributions this quarter with 98 percent of that coming from individuals and about 2 percent coming from special-interest political action committees (PACS).

By comparison, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is three years away from her next election, brought in $192,972 this quarter. About 67 percent of this money came from individual contributors and around 33 percent came from PACS.

At the end of the quarter, the Klobuchar campaign had $798,643 on hand; the Franken campaign had $242,128.

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