State News

Wisconsin politicians decry Franken, Moore

Image By: Katie Scheidt and Katie Scheidt

Wisconsin’s U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson have denounced two political figures who have been accused of sexual harassment in two separate incidents this month.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Min., was accused of groping and kissing a woman without her consent 11 years ago. Baldwin, along with Democratic candidate Randy Bryce running to unseat House Speaker Paul Ryan, have received campaign donations from Frankin.

Both Baldwin and Bryce said they will give away the money donated by Franken’s PAC. Baldwin pledged the $20,000 she received to the Women’s Veteran Initiative, which supports at-risk and underserved female veterans. Bryce has not yet said where the $1,500 he received will go.

Baldwin encouraged an ethics investigation into the accusation on Thursday, calling the behavior from her Democratic colleague from a neighboring state not “ok.” She also praised Franken for “immediately apologizing” to an incident that happened over a decade ago.

"I am glad to see that Senator Franken immediately apologized. This kind of behavior isn't ok whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat and I support an Ethics Committee investigation," Baldwin said in a statement.

In a separate incident, Roy Moore, a Republican candidate for Alabama Senate, has been accused by multiple different women of sexually harassing them when they were teenagers. Johnson called for Moore to drop out of the race Thursday.

"I really seriously doubt that Judge Roy Moore would be serving as a United States senator for very long. So he just needs to face that reality," Johnson told CNN.

State lawmakers have also decried the allegations. State Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, called in a tweet for Franken to resign and Moore to be expelled from U.S. Senate should he win the election. He also encouraged all women who have been abused to come forward and any other person in office guilty of sexual abuse to also resign.

“We may have a much smaller congress by end of year if this all happens,” Steineke said in a tweet.

Leean Tweeden, a radio news anchor, revealed Thursday that Franken had kissed her without her consent in 2006 while they were practicing a skit in the Middle East. Franken, a former Saturday Night Live actor and comedian, also photographed himself with hands on her breasts while she was sleeping on a plane.

"You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed," Tweeden said in a tweet.

Franken apologized to Tweeden Thursday, saying he respects women, doesn't respect men who don’t and expressed shame for giving people a reason to question his morals.

"The truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories. They deserve to be heard, and believed," Franken said.

In a separate case, several women have come forward accusing Moore of giving them unwanted attention as teenagers when he was in his 30s and acting as an assistant district attorney in Alabama.

Moore has denied the accusations, stating that he will continue to run for Senate and urging U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to “bring it on” following McConnell’s announcement that Moore should drop out of the race. 

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