Major Democratic donor threatens to pull funding from senators who called for Al Franken’s resignation

Sen. Al Franken has resigned from the Senate amid allegations of sexual harassment — and calls from his colleagues for him to step down. Now, a major Democratic donor is saying those senators may have to pay a price for pressuring him to resign.

Susie Tompkins Buell, a liberal mega donor who primarily supports female politicians, said in interviews with Buzzfeed and the New York Times that she is reconsidering her financial support of politicians who called for Franken’s resignation, a move that she considered to be “unfair,” “cavalier” and a “stampede.”

“For me this is dangerous and wrong,” Buell told the New York Times, saying that the senators “moved too fast” in condemning Franken.

“I am a big believer in helping more women into the political system but this has given me an opportunity to rethink of how I can best help my party.”

18 PHOTOS
Democratic senators call on Al Franken to resign
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Democratic senators call on Al Franken to resign
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was the first to publish a Wednesday post on social media calling for Al Franken's Senate resignation, and her colleagues were quick to follow ...
As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards—not the lowest. The allegations against Sen. Frank… https://t.co/h2BHS6O5nd
Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been a… https://t.co/6o1WP2RhFC
Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. I believe the best… https://t.co/YrXRgyJpTn
Sen. Al Franken should step down. Everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect… https://t.co/u6cgoWHi42
Al Franken should resign.
It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.
I’m shocked and appalled by Senator Franken’s behavior. It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persi… https://t.co/PPwAl5dAEY
I am deeply disappointed by Senator Franken’s behavior. He must step aside. My full statement here.
I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign.
I agree with my colleagues who have stepped forward today and called on Senator Franken to resign. We can’t just be… https://t.co/Gt1Tnsvh1a
Sen. Franken has said that he will be making an announcement about his political future tomorrow. The right thing is for him to resign.
I have listened to them. I have listened to my female colleagues, to women I work with and women in my life. And I… https://t.co/Zh99IfLaUU
My statement on Sen. Franken: https://t.co/SuI2gmHHRk
Senator Franken’s behavior was wrong. He has admitted to what he did. He should resign from the Senate.
Sexual harassment is unacceptable. I believe Senator Franken should do the right thing and resign.
Al Franken has been a friend to many in the Senate – Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike – but these alle… https://t.co/kX1Wyrv2Y2
Joe is calling for Senator Franken to resign. https://t.co/ff5i1rnhJs
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Buell, a founder of the clothing brand Esprit, currently supports nearly every female politician in the U.S. Congress, Buzzfeed noted. Her funding pull would would primarily affect female senators such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), whom Buell singled out in particular.

“As for Gillibrand, unfortunately, I believe she miscalculated and has shot herself in the foot,” Buell told the Times. “I have supported her for many years. Will I going forward? To be determined.”

Gillibrand was one of more than two dozen Democratic senators to call for Franken’s resignation following the allegations against him and helped to lead a coordinated response among the U.S. Senate’s female politicians. The calls for him to resign came before the Senate Ethics Committee could conclude its investigation into Franken’s alleged wrongdoing.

“While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve,” Gillibrand wrote in a statement, as quoted by CNN.

Buell’s funding threat, however, now comes as some Senate Democrats are rethinking their decision to call for Franken’s resignation.

“I have stood for due process throughout my years as a prosecutor and in chairing the Judiciary Committee,” Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said in a statement quoted by the Burlington Free Press. “I regret not doing that this time. The Ethics Committee should have been allowed to investigate and make its recommendation.”

 

 

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