In the wake of accusations against Senator Al Frank (D-Minnesota) by model and broadcaster Leeann Tweeden, in which she claims that he forced a kiss on her and groped her breasts, fellow Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp announced that she’d be donating to charity Franken’s contributions to her campaign:
Senator Franken’s conduct was inappropriate and unacceptable & I will be donating his contributions to my campaign to @MSAUnitedWay which has helped provide emergency shelter to homeless in ND.
— Heidi Heitkamp (@HeidiHeitkamp) November 16, 2017
So far in the 2018 cycle Franken has given Heitkmap $10,000 through his (ironically named) Midwest Values PAC. I don’t see any other contributions from Franken’s PAC to Heitkamp going back to the 2012 cycle when she first ran for the U.S. Senate.
Heitkamp also criticized Franken from her official U.S. Senate Twitter account, though gave him some credit for apologizing:
Here’s my statement on Senator Franken pic.twitter.com/hrSxlCqsFq
— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (@SenatorHeitkamp) November 16, 2017
Here’s the problem, though. Franken didn’t actually apologize.
In the statement he released, he certainly said he’s sorry. He admits to the photo of him groping (or, at least, pretending to grope) Tweden’s breasts. Probably because there’s, you know, a photo. But the most serious charge Tweden makes – that Franken forced a kiss on her and, worse, forced his tongue into her mouth – Franken denies.
Read his statement carefully. Tweden says the unwanted kiss happened during a USO rehearsal for a skit Franken wrote. Franken says he remembers the rehearsal differently. That’s a denial:
NEW FRANKEN STATEMENT pic.twitter.com/c3puSkK9Ts
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 16, 2017
Heitkamp says we have been “too tolerant and dismissive of past allegations.” And yet her colleague, and frequent political ally, is dismissing the most egregious allegation against him.
Passively, in couched in apologetic tones, but dismissed none the less.
I’m not sure it would have been a big deal had Heitkamp kept Franken’s cash. I actually think it’s a bigger issue that Heitkamp is carrying on as though Franken did something he didn’t actually do, which is take responsibility for what he’s credibly accused of.