How To Quiet Franken, Al The PAC-Man, Money For Vermont Race
No Response To Investigation, Socialist Gets Contribution
While it may not seem easy to keep Al Franken quiet on virtually any subject, we may have found a way: on national television, expose his outrageous compensation demands and watch him instantly clam up.
One week after our report appeared here and was discussed on the O'Reilly Factor, Franken, his fellow staffers and Air America Radio itself haven't said a word about it. Nor have nonstop FOX-bashers such as David Brock's Media Matters even mentioned our documented findings.
Included were revelations Franken made an increasing series of demands of the liberal radio network, at the same time it was struggling to figure out how to repay $875,000 in taxpayer funds it received from the Bronx-based Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club. He insisted, for example, that his entire 2005 base salary of $1,725,000 be paid upfront. By 2008, it increases to a whopping $3 million, whether or not the show ever proves to be a real success.
Since Bill O'Reilly usually can't so much as sneeze without Brock's team going into overdrive, the omission seems especially curious. After all, if any of our facts were incorrect, wouldn't there have been an instant uproar by Franken's fans? That's exactly why FOX News reviewed our evidence before the segment aired, just as any other network would have also done.
Much to the disappointment of Al's supporters, his silence speaks volumes. We knew we were reporting the truth and so did Franken. No doubt his energy has instead been spent trying to figure out how the information reached us. With so many people inside Air America increasingly feeling burned, where would one begin?
While Al's remaining defenders pretend they're unaware of this reporting, history will record he was his own worst enemy, not only with unreasonable behind-the-scenes demands, but also for the way he dealt in public with these controversies.
Franken is clearly keeping one foot inside Air America, where he can continue to collect his bloated salary, while the other is setting up shop in Minnesota for a potential 2008 US Senate race against GOP incumbent Norm Coleman.
So far, his Midwest Values political action committee (PAC) has raised $170,000 for a future race, according to this AP report:
Comedian Al Franken, who is mulling a 2008 challenge to U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, has raised $168,000 for his new political action committee in just more than two months, according to a campaign finance report.
Franken's Midwest Values PAC so far has made contributions to seven Democratic and independent candidates, including three in Minnesota.
Politicians typically set up such PACs to help build chits to advance their own political futures. By dispensing money to other candidates, they raise their own profiles and build goodwill along the way.
Asked whether one motivation in setting up the PAC was to help him create support for a possible Senate race against Coleman, R-Minn., Franken deadpanned: "No, not all. I take great umbrage.
"Yeah," he added with a laugh. "Part of what I'm doing is looking forward to '08, and I think this is a great piece of what I need to be doing."
He said he won't make a decision on running until after this year's congressional elections.
In the meantime, Franken said, he wants to help elect progressive candidates, support progressive organizations, and encourage people to get involved in politics.
Franken said that one of the things he hopes to push for is public financing of elections, but he didn't see anything unusual about using a PAC to advance that cause.
"You can't disarm unilaterally," he said.
Contributors to Franken's PAC include "Seinfeld" co-creator and "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Larry David ($5,000). His wife and two children also each contributed $5,000.
In naming his PAC "Midwest Values", was Franken trying to be funny? After all, how does Air America's sleazy corporate track record and the David family's Hollywood elitism fit the "values" expectations of Minnesota's voters?
In addition, according to this report, Franken looks even more extreme, handing out money to Vermont's fringe independent Rep. Bernie Sanders:
MONTPELIER — National Democrats are already expressing strong interest in Vermont's U.S. Senate race this year, but their generosity is not being directed toward a member of their party.
Instead, political committees of senators ranging from Barbara Boxer of California to Barak Obama of Illinois donated in the last quarter of 2005 to Rep. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., who is running to replace the retiring Sen. James Jeffords.
Obama, a first-term Illinois Democrat who wowed his party's convention as keynote speaker in 2004, donated $10,000 to Sanders' campaign, according to federal campaign finance reports reflecting activity from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.
Even a former senator, Former Minority Leader Tom Daschle of North Dakota, donated $5,000 to Sanders. Another well-known doner was national liberal talk-show host Al Franken, whose PAC gave Sanders $1,000.
(Not only does Franken look extreme here: why in the world did supposed moderate Barack Obama give Sanders $10,000?)
With that kind of money already in Al's coffers for a 2008 race, campaign-watchers are safe to assume he's at least seriously considering jumping in, just as soon as he's squeezed every last dollar from Air America's bank account.
Your Amazon orders that begin with clicks here, regardless of what you ultimately purchase, help to support this site's ongoing efforts. Thanks again!
Robbin' Da Hood: Pete at IHillary, AAR Scandal: Darleen Click, Franken Lies: David A Lunde