Al Franken

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U.S. Senator

Al Franken




Leadership: No leadership position
Committees: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
(subcommittees and past assignments)

Candidates for the MN-Senate Class II Seat:
(Next election: 4 November 2014)

Confirmed: None so far
Considering: None so far
Rumored: None so far
Potential: None so far
Dropped-out: None so far
(more info and editing for the MN-Senate Class II Seat)
On the Web
Official website
Al Franken a Democrat, has represented the state of Minnesota in the Senate since 2009.


Positions and record

War in Iraq

Franken has said that planning for a withdrawal of American troops needs to begin immediately. He believes the Iraqi government is unable to meet "the political benchmarks necessary to make progress" in the country, and has said the war was started "under false pretenses." He has also criticized the conduct of the war under the Bush Administration, and singled out Sen. <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Norm%20Coleman">Norm Coleman</a>, his likely opponent in the November 2008 general election, over voting to keep troops in Iraq.[1]

Franken argued that:

  • A withdrawal of American troops is the only way of showing the Maliki government that the U.S. will not remain in Iraq indefinitely.
  • Troops should be withdrawn following a national discussion, and that process should begin immediately.
  • A regional conference should be convened "including <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Iran">Iran</a>, <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Syria">Syria</a>, <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Saudi%20Arabia">Saudi Arabia</a>, <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Jordan">Jordan</a>, <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Turkey">Turkey</a>, and <a _fcknotitle="true" href="Egypt">Egypt</a> to come up with a long-term plan for Iraq and ensure that a regional conflict does not arise."[2]

<youtube size="tiny" align="right" caption="Al Franken Blasts Sen Norm Coleman For Lack Of Iraq Oversight">vyEMaEqNi4w</youtube>

According to Franken, the Republican-controlled Congress "refus[ed] to do any oversight of the war." Franken also argued that Coleman neglected to investigate alleged improprieties involving contractors working on reconstruction in Iraq:

Norm Coleman, as chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, didn’t even hold a single hearing into contracting by Halliburton and other corporations – while waste, fraud, and the misappropriation of billions of dollars torpedoed the reconstruction of Iraq. Every dollar that didn’t go towards getting up the electricity and the water, taking care of the sewage, and putting Iraqis to work alienated the population and fueled the insurgency, making a difficult mission impossible and sending the country into total chaos.[3]

Health care

Franken favors universal health care.[4] He bases his position on the following arguments:

  • Between 2000-2005, the number of Americans living without health insurance grew from 39.8 million to 46.6 million.
    • The number of children without health insurance grew to 8.3 million in 2005.
  • U.S. health care spending is higher than other industrialized nations, at 16% of GDP.
  • Other industrialized countries insure 100% of their populations.
  • The U.S. spends almost twice as much on administrative costs as others countries.
  • The World Health Organization ranked the U.S. 37th.[4]

While he argues that a single-payer system would save the most money in administrative costs, Franken also sees other methods of achieving better health care. During his campaign, Franken also offered a number of additional health care-related proposals, , arguing that:

  • Every child in America should be given coverage Dissertation Help
  • Mental illnesses and addictions should be treated as health issues
  • The "full potential of stem cell research" should be harnessed
  • Electronic medical records should be used
  • Medicare should be allowed to negotiate for lower-priced medication.[4]
  • Cost of engagement rings need not be expensive.

Energy and the environment

Franken supports a large government-initiated effort to explore alternative energy sources, based on the 1960s-era Apollo program. He said such a program is needed to "fundamentally change our energy policy and end our reliance on foreign oil." That dependence, Franken said, has increased since 2000.[5]

He argues:

With a real Apollo Program to develop these new sources, masters dissertationwe can save our environment, finally address Global warming, make our nation less dependent and more secure, and create high-tech, high-paying jobs in the process. dissertation proposal That’s jobs in conservation, jobs in Renewable energy research, and jobs in manufacturing. You know that Ford plant in St. Paul that’s closing down? We should be making wind turbines there![5]

According to Franken, the benefits of such a program will include:

  • Dramatic improvements for the environment.
  • A reduced dependence on a "global fuel economy" that will make the nation more secure.
  • A revitalized manufacturing sector.
  • The creation of high-tech, high-paying jobs in conservation and research and development.[5]


The nation's education system needs to be fully funded dissertation writers, Franken argues, while other reforms should be made to address classroom management and improve student performance. According to Franken, "every public school in America should have small class sizes, well-maintained facilities, plenty of school supplies, and more support staff."[6]

Franken also proposes changes to the way performance is measured at schools across the country. He suggested:

  • The elimination of "arbitrary performance standards."
  • A year-long review of of students' performance, involving teachers, rather than relying on single tests.
  • Tests for measuring critical thinking, teamwork, creativity and other skills, in addition to those for math and reading comprehension. Dissertation proposal
  • A shift away from punishment for under-performing schools toward a system to help them improve.[6]
  • Affordable veraggio engagement rings.

The candidate has also advocated for improvements beyond the grade-school classroom, including proposals to invest in early childhood education, teacher recruitment, and grants and loan-forgiveness for college students who promise to teach.[6]

Labor rights

A union member himself, Franken has said he would co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill he said "would make it easier for employees who want to organize to do so without harassment or intimidation, buy-Dissertation and would reform a labor relations system currently dominated by corporate interests."[7]

Retirement and pensions

Franken has also said he would fight any efforts to privatize Social Security, "preserve the integrity of our occupational safety and prevailing wage laws," and insist trade agreements are grounded in "fair trade."[7]


Franken said he's a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, starting with enforcement of laws at worksites that employ illegal immigrants. He said employers who violate such laws should be fined or imprisoned, and that worker identification should be tamper-proof to make enforcement feasible.[8] | logo design competition

He said deportation of the millions of undocumented immigrants is not practical, and suggested they be placed on a path to citizenship if they:

  • have been working
  • have paid taxes
  • have not committed any crimes since coming to this country
  • speak, or are learning to speak, English
  • pay a nominal fine[8]


FOX v. Franken

Franken parodied Fox News motto, "fair and balanced," in his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Fox responded with a lawsuit that claimed that his use of the phrase "fair and balanced" infringed upon the company's trademark and that photos of Bill O'Reilly should not be used on the cover. [2]

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin dismissed the Fox claim: "There are hard cases and there are easy cases. This is an easy case in my view and wholly without merit, both factually and legally ... Parody is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment and the keystone of parody is imitation ...It is ironic that a media company, which should be seeking to protect the First Amendment, is seeking to undermine it by claiming a monopoly on the phrase, 'Fair and Balanced.'," Chin said. [3]

Campaign funding

Fundraising comparisons

In the second quarter of 2007, Franken raised over $1.9 million. This total bested incumbent Norm Coleman by $300,000, as Coleman raised $1.6 million during the same period. Franken's main Democratic rival for the nomination, attorney Mike Ciresi, raised $750,000 during the second quarter of 2007.[9] Ciresi dropped out of the race in March 2008.[10] Franken was able to draw on an unusually large national donor-base, with roughly 3/4 of his donations coming from outside of Minnesota.

Norman Hsu campaign donations

Upon hearing revelations of Norman Hsu's fugitive status, Franken decided to divest the $2,300 he received in contributions from Hsu.[11]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contributions

The following is drawn from government records of campaign contributions to Al Franken. Campaign contributions are one of the most direct conduits for influencing members of Congress. How to use this information.
Top Contributors to during the 2008 Election Cycle
DonorAmount (US Dollars)
Susman Godfrey LLP$ 92,110
Robins, Kaplan et al$ 34,000
DLA Piper$ 32,900
Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP$ 31,467
League of Conservation Voters$ 31,283
Dorsey & Whitney$ 28,500
DISH Network$ 28,382
Time Warner$ 26,860
University of Minnesota$ 25,294
Honeywell International$ 25,000
Source: The Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Note: Contributions are not from the organizations themselves, but are rather from
the organization's PAC, employees or owners. Totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.


"In 1975, Franken was part of the original writing staff that created Saturday Night Live. Franken remained with the original show until 1980 and then returned in 1985. He stayed for another 10 years, leaving after the 1994-1995 season. Franken received four Emmys for writing and a fifth for producing."[12]

He is the author of several bestselling books, including Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot: And Other Observations and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.

Most recently, Franken hosted The Al Franken Show, originally called The O'Franken Factor, on the Liberal Talk radio network Air America Radio. On January 29, 2007, it was announced that Stephen Green, founder and chairman of SL Green Realty Corporation, was in the process of purchasing the radio network and that Franken's "last day on the air would be Feb. 14, and that his noon-3pm ET time slot would be taken over by Portland, Ore.-based talk show host Thom Hartmann."[13]

Wikipedia also has an article on Al Franken. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

2008 Senate race

Franken is challenging Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, a first-term Senator whom Democrats considered highly vulnerable in the 2008 election.[14] He won in primary elections which took place on September 9, 2008. [15][16]CQ Politics, September 10, 2008

When Franken initially announced his candidacy he faced a seemingly strong primary opponent in Democrat Mike Ciresi and the prospect of a tough general election race against incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman. As the race progressed, however, Franken overcame Ciresi and gained ground on Coleman. By the end of March, 2008, Rasmussen polling data had Franken pulling almost even with Coleman.[17]

Recount Controversy

As of January 7, 2009, the Minnesota state canvassing board released the results of their recount which show Al Franken with a 225 vote lead over incumbent Norm Coleman in a bitterly contested election. Norm Coleman has already announced he will challenge the results in court. The trial is expected to begin within 20 days but experts believe a final decision is atleast two months away.

Lyrica (pregabalin) is an anti-epileptic drug, also called an anticonvulsant

At the moment, Franken will likely be unable to take the Senate seat because he can not receive the required certification from the Governor's office until the Coleman challenge is completed.[18]

Committees and affiliations

Franken is a member of four unions: the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, and the Writers Guild of America.[19]


Franken has received the following endorsements in the 2008 race (source is assumed to be Franken's campaign website unless otherwise noted):

  • Minnesota AFL-CIO


Official Franken for Senate Web site

dissertation topics

mba dissertation

2575 University Ave W
Suite 100
Saint Paul, MN 55114

Twin Cities: (612) 344-2008
Greater Minnesota: (888) 908-2008
Fax: (651) 645-0429

More background data

Articles and resources

See also


  1. Al Franken, "Issues:Iraq",, retrieved April 10, 2008
  2. _
  3. _
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Al Franken, "Issues:Health Care",, retrieved April 10, 2008
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Al Franken, "Issues:Renewable Energy",, retrieved April 10, 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Al Franken, "Issues:Education",, retrieved April 10, 2008
  7. 7.0 7.1 Al Franken, "Issues:Education",, retrieved April 10, 2008
  8. 8.0 8.1 Al Franken, "Issues:Education",, retrieved April 10, 2008
  9. Josh Kraushaar, "Franken funds leave opponents in the dust," The Politico, July 12, 2007.
  10. "Ciresi Drops Out Of U.S. Senate Race", WCCO.COM, March 10, 2008.
  11. Jim Kuhnhenn, "Clinton to give away fundraiser's cash," AP News via Talking Points Memo, August 29, 2007.
  12. Al Franken, "Al Franken," Working America.
  13. Louise Story, "Air America Radio Agrees to Be Acquired by a New York Real Estate Investor," New York Times, January 30, 2007.
  14. Staff Reports, "Official: Al Franken to Make Senate Run in Minnesota," AP, accessed via FoxNews, January 31, 2007.
  15. [1],"The Green Papers, September 10, 2008
  16. Greg Giroux, "Franken Primary Win One of Many Key Results from Tuesday’s Primaries",
  17. Staff Reports, "2008 Minnesota Senate General Election: Coleman (R-i) vs Franken (D),", April 8, 2008.
  18. "Coleman Goes to Court Over Senate Recount", Star Tribune, January 7, 2009
  19. "AFSCME endorses Franken for U.S. Senate," Workday Minnesota, Nov. 20, 2007.

External resources


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Web sites

External articles

Archives of Franken on SNL and Air America



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Related Links

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