Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is slowly reentering public life after being forced to resign over sexual misconduct allegations, releasing a video Monday to thank his supporters for donating to a Native American school in Minnesota.
Franken announced his resignation in December 2017, after eight women accused him of groping and/or forced kissing.
In an email to supporters on April 25, he wrote: “It’s been a while since I’ve been in touch with you,” before asking them to help raise money for the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School at the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota.
The money will fund books for the school’s library, including “a meaningful collection of books about the history and culture of Native People,” according to his email.
In the video, first reported by Politico’s Playbook newsletter Monday, he announced that his email had raised over $70,000 for the school, which recently underwent major renovations and dedicated a new building for its high school, a cause he championed while in the Senate.
The former senator spoke at the high school’s dedication last summer; during his speech, Franken referred to his resignation from the Senate.
“It was very meaningful for me and bittersweet. I would like to still be there,” he said.
At the dedication, in an interview with local CBS News outlet WCCO, his first since his resignation, he suggested that he was open to seeking public office again.
“I haven’t ruled it out, and I haven’t ruled it in,” he said.
Franken also recently relaunched his website, where he has been writing blog posts about news events, such as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump, as well as Attorney General William Barr’s Senate testimony last week.
Franken’s scandal has become a flashpoint in the 2020 presidential election, as some progressive donors have attacked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for calling on Franken to resign and pledged not to support her presidential bid.
Gillibrand, who has made combating sexual misconduct a major issue during her career, was among dozens of senators who called on Franken to resign.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.