DUBUQUE, Iowa -- An Iowa congressional candidate is distancing herself from Sen. Al Franken and giving up a donation Franken made to her campaign.
On Thursday Franken was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct by Los Angeles radio host Leeann Tweeden during a USO Tour in 2006. Tweeden says Franken forced a kiss on her. She later discovered a photo of Franken allegedly groping her over top of her body armor while she is sleeping.
Franken apologized for his conduct today initially by saying he thought his actions were just jokes. However he released a full apology later in the day saying there is no excuse for his actions.
""For instance, that picture. I don't know what was in my head when I took that picture, and it doesn't matter. There's no excuse. I look at it now and I feel disgusted with myself. It isn't funny. It's completely inappropriate. It's obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And, what's more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it—women who have had similar experiences in their own lives, women who fear having those experiences, women who look up to me, women who have counted on me."
The US Senate is launching an ethics investigation into Franken's conduct. Franken says he welcomes the review and will fully cooperate.
Iowa Democrat Abby Finkenauer is distancing herself from Franken. He was an early supporter of hers and has donated to her campaign in Iowa's first congressional district. On Thursday Finkenauer said there is only way to view Franken's actions and she is putting his money to better use.
"Nothing about Senator Franken’s actions on the USO Tour in 2006 is funny or okay. Leeann Tweeden’s account of her experiences with the Senator are clearly sexual assault, not a joke, and she is incredibly brave for speaking out. Sexual assault is not a partisan problem. Democrats need to hold ourselves to the same standards we would demand of Republicans. I’ve decided to donate Senator Franken’s donation to my campaign to the Riverview Center, a non-profit in Iowa that helps individuals affected by sexual assault. We all must do more. Hear women, believe women, and act."