Difference between revisions of "Al Franken"

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{{youtube|title=NUF5EVxT004|size=250|caption=American Encore attacks Al Franken for regulations on the political role of nonprofits.<ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUF5EVxT004 ''YouTube'', "Senator Franken Supports Obama's Attacks on Free Speech," accessed March 27, 2014]</ref>}}

Revision as of 10:44, 27 March 2014

Al Franken
Al Franken.jpg
U.S. Senate, Minnesota
In office
July 7, 2009-Present
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 6
PredecessorNorm Coleman (R)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 4, 2008
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$22,502,124
Term limitsN/A
Bachelor'sHarvard University
Date of birthMay 31, 1951
Place of birthNew York, NY
ProfessionWriter, Radio Host
Net worth$8,429,528
Office website
Campaign website
Alan Stuart "Al" Franken (b. May 21, 1951, in New York, New York) is a Democratic member of the U.S. Senate from the state of Minnesota. Franken was first elected to the Senate in 2008. He is running for re-election on November 4, 2014.[1]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Franken is one of the most reliable Democratic votes, meaning he can be considered a safe vote for the Democratic Party in Congress.


Franken born in 1951 in New York, NY, but was raised in St. Louis Park, MN. He earned his B.A. from the Harvard University in 1973 and went on to become a screenwriter for Saturday Night Live. Prior to his political career, Franken had also hosted his own national radio show and written several New York Times-bestselling books.[2]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Franken's professional and political career:

  • Screenwriter, Author
  • Radio Host The Al Franken Show, 2004-2007
  • U.S. Senate, 2009-Present

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate


Franken serves on the following Senate committees[3]:


Franken served on the following Senate committees[4]:


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 224 out of the 3215 introduced bills (7 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[5] The Senate confirmed 13,949 out of 18,323 executive nominations received (76.1 percent). For more information pertaining to Franken's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[6]

National security

John Brennan CIA nomination

Voted "Yes" Franken voted for the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.[7]


No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

Voted "Yes" Franken voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.[8]

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "Yes" During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[9] The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Franken voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.[10]


Mexico-U.S. border

Voted "No" Franken voted against Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.[11]

Social Issues

Violence Against Women (2013)

Voted "Yes" Franken voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.[12]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes" Franken voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.[13]

Judiciary Committee

Senator Franken was first appointed to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary shortly after he was sworn into the US Senate in June of 2009.[14]

Senator Franken serves on the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights, and Human Rights and the Law.[15]



See also: United States Senate elections in Minnesota, 2014

Franken ran in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Minnesota. Franken sought the Democratic nomination. The general election took place November 4, 2014.[1]


On November 4, 2008, Franken won election to the United States Senate. He defeated Norm Coleman, Dean Barkley (I), Charles Aldrich (L), James Niemackl (C), Michael Cavlan (I, Write-In) and Anthony Keith Price (I, Write-In) in the general election. He won election after a lengthy hand recount that did not declare him the winner until after June of 2009.[15][16]

U.S. Senate General Election, Minnesota, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngAl Franken 42% 1,212,629
     Republican Norm Coleman Incumbent 42% 1,212,317
     Independent Dean Barkley 15.2% 437,505
     Libertarian Charles Aldrich 0.5% 13,923
     Constitution James Niemackl 0.3% 8,907
     Independent Michael Cavlan 0% 13
     Independent Anthony Keith Price 0% 12
     Independent Write-In 0.1% 2,340
Total Votes 2,887,646

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Franken is available dating back to 2008. Based on available campaign finance records, Franken raised a total of $22,502,124 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 24, 2013.[17]

Al Franken's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 U.S. Senate (Minnesota) Won $22,502,124
Grand Total Raised $22,502,124


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Franken's reports.[18]

Christmas poem

In December 2013, Franken sent out a Christmas poem via email asking for funds for his re-election campaign. The poem was a play on the popular The Night Before Christmas poem by Clement Moore. Franken's version read, "'T'was the week before Christmas, and all through the state, Attention was focused on one single date, Our fundraising goal that we've set with such care, By 12/31, all the cash must be there!"

Franken concluded the email with, "I couldn't think of anything that rhymed with $98,561, but that's how much we have to raise before midnight on December 31st."[25]


Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[26]

Franken most often votes with:

Franken least often votes with:

Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Franken is a "far-left Democrat," as of June 28, 2013.[27]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Franken missed 2 of 1,061 roll call votes from Jul 2009 to Apr 2013, which is 0.2% of votes during that period. This is better than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.[28]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Franken paid his congressional staff a total of $2,780,125 in 2011. He ranked 31st on the list of the lowest paid Democratic senatorial staff salaries and ranked 25th overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Minnesota ranked 46th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.[29]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives

Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Franken's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $4,320,055 and $12,806,000. That averages to $8,563,027.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic senators in 2012 of $13,566,333. Franken ranked as the 17th most wealthy senator in 2012.[30]

Al Franken Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

National Journal vote ratings

See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.


According to the data released in 2013, Franken was ranked the 13th most liberal senator during 2012.[31]


According to the data released in 2012, Al Franken was ranked the 13th most liberal senator during 2011.[32]

Voting with party


Al Franken voted with the Democratic Party 98.5% of the time, which ranked 2nd among the 52 Senate Democratic members as of June 2013.[33]


Franken has been married to his wife, Frannie, since 1977. The couple has two grown children.[2]


American Encore, a conservative group partially financed by the Koch brothers, is spending around $250,000 on a campaign ad against Al Franken for supporting new rules that would further limit the amount of political activity and spending of nonprofit groups.[34]

American Encore attacks Al Franken for regulations on the political role of nonprofits.[35]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Al + Franken + Minnesota + Senate"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Al Franken News Feed

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External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Campaign website, "About Al," accessed October 24, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Official Senate Site "About Al," accessed November 2, 2011
  3. Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" accessed January 22, 2013
  4. U.S. Senate Official Website "Committee Assignments," accessed November 2, 2011
  5. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  6. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  7. Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  8. Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  9. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  10. Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
  11. Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  12. Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
  13. U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" accessed January 4, 2013
  14. "Senate Judiciary" List of previous members
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Senator Al Franken" Official Biography
  16. U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008"
  17. Open Secrets, "Donor history for Al Franken" April 2013
  18. Federal Election Commission, "Franken 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 25, 2013
  19. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed July 25, 2013
  20. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 25, 2013
  21. FEC, "October Quarterly," accessed October 30, 2013
  22. FEC, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 13, 2014
  23. FEC, "April Quarterly," accessed April 28, 2014
  24. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed October 16, 2014
  25. The Hill, "Seeking cash, Franken pens a (bad) Xmas poem," accessed December 20, 2013
  26. OpenCongress, "Al Franken," accessed August 8, 2013
  27. GovTrack, "Al Franken," accessed June 28, 2013
  28. GovTrack, "Al Franken" accessed April 2013
  29. "Al Franken"
  30. OpenSecrets.org, "Franken, (D-MN), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
  31. National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
  32. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  33. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  34. The Wall Street Journal, "Sen. Franken Draws Attack Ad From American Encore," accessed March 27, 2014
  35. YouTube, "Senator Franken Supports Obama's Attacks on Free Speech," accessed March 27, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Norm Coleman
U.S. Senate - Minnesota
Succeeded by