Wednesday's HOT MIC

Wednesday's HOT MIC

Fallout's a bitch.

Al Franken allegations are a big money problem for Democrats.


During the 2016 election cycle, Franken transferred more than $322,000 in personal campaign funds to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. A similar cash infusion is presumably off limits in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, as Franken is politically damaged goods now that he stands accused by two women of groping.

Perhaps a bigger loss than his direct contributions to Democrats’ Senate campaign arm is the sidelining of Franken, 66, as a go-to fundraiser for his colleagues, particularly ahead of an election featuring several vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Facing tough re-elections, they returned or donated Franken’s contributions within hours of the first allegation, which occurred in 2006 before Franken was elected to the Senate.

Franken’s email fundraising list, methodically built over many years, is among the most lucrative in Democratic politics with small, grassroots donors. His success as a headliner was unique for a rank-and-file, second-term senator. The brash liberal and former comedian was a top, box-office draw on the fundraising circuit. But with a second allegation of sexual harassment surfacing Monday, Franken is matching his swift rise with an equally rapid fall.

“He is indeed sidelined — and it’s a significant loss,” said a Democratic political operative focused on congressional races, who, like others interviewed for this story, requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.

Given the nature of the charges against Franken, hopefully it's only a matter of time before those anonymous sources are willing to go public.