WASHINGTON -- Al Franken, the best-selling author and comedian turned muted Minnesota senator, has inked a deal to write a nonfiction book about his time in Congress for at least $1 million, sources close to the process told The Huffington Post.
The book project, as yet untitled, is being represented by D.C. heavyweight Bob Barnett, who handles book deals for nearly every high-ranking political figure in Washington. The book will be published by Twelve, a division of Hachette Book Group. Franken has described the book as a "psychological thriller."
Franken, a Democrat first elected in a nail-biter in 2008, was re-elected in a landslide in 2014, following his strategy of keeping a nonexistent national profile, cracking wise only in private gatherings and focusing nearly exclusively on Minnesota politics. Liberals expected the former "Saturday Night Live" comic and author of Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot to be an outspoken progressive champion, but shortly after taking office, Franken sent a signal that he was not going to be a different kind of senator, signing a letter standing up for coal-fired power plants in Minnesota in the midst of a climate change debate.
Franken has since picked his policy battles, taking an aggressive stand in defense of net neutrality and incorporating a significant -- and highly successful -- insurance industry reform into Obamacare. He also made a vigorous push to legislate the conflicted behavior of credit-rating agencies as part of Wall Street reform. That effort was watered down by Franken's colleagues, and then further diluted by Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, but it may yet end up paving the way for future reform if and when the next financial collapse happens.
In meetings with publishers, according to sources, Franken had the rooms in stitches and pledged that he would soon begin taking a higher profile. But don't start DVRing C-SPAN just yet -- that pledge could easily have been a bluff to squeeze out a higher advance, speculated one industry source. "Al's approach to the job (and the press) is going to be the same as it has been," said Franken spokesman Ed Shelleby. "He'll be out there on the stuff he's passionate about and the issues important to his constituents."
Shelleby referred questions on the book to Barnett, who said he never discusses his clients' financial matters. But he did say he enjoyed the pitch meetings. "They were some of the most entertaining and productive publishing meetings I have attended," he said.
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