Al Franken

Al Franken

Overview
Alan Stuart "Al" Franken (born May 21, 1951) is the junior United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

. He is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party is a major political party in the state of Minnesota and the state affiliate of the Democratic Party. It was created on April 15, 1944, with the merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer–Labor Party...

, which affiliates with the national Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

.

Franken achieved note as a writer and performer for the television show Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 from its inception in 1975 before moving to writing and acting in films and television shows. He then became a political commentator, author of five books and host of a nationally syndicated radio show
The Al Franken Show
The Al Franken Show was the flagship talk show of the former talk radio network, Air America Radio. Hosted by Al Franken, it featured commentary and interviews arguing for left-wing positions on the issues of the day, and comically poking fun at the George W. Bush Administration. The show began as...

 on the Air America Radio
Air America Radio
Air America was an American radio network specializing in progressive talk programming...

 network.

In 2008, Franken narrowly defeated incumbent Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Senator Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

, by 312 votes, after a mandatory statewide manual recount.
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Quotations

"Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from."

Oh, the Things I Know, 2002

"When you encounter seemingly good advice that contradicts other seemingly good advice, ignore them both."

Oh, the Things I Know, 2002

"The biases the media has are much bigger than conservative or liberal. They're about getting ratings, about making money, about doing stories that are easy to cover."

Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them, 2003\

"We need to be pro-science; we have to go back to science."

Said at a Book Signing on December 4th, 2005 in Edina MN

"What I do is taking what they say and using it against them. What I do is jujutsu.

Al Franken: God Spoke|Al Franken: God Spoke
Encyclopedia
Alan Stuart "Al" Franken (born May 21, 1951) is the junior United States Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

. He is a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party is a major political party in the state of Minnesota and the state affiliate of the Democratic Party. It was created on April 15, 1944, with the merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer–Labor Party...

, which affiliates with the national Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

.

Franken achieved note as a writer and performer for the television show Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 from its inception in 1975 before moving to writing and acting in films and television shows. He then became a political commentator, author of five books and host of a nationally syndicated radio show
The Al Franken Show
The Al Franken Show was the flagship talk show of the former talk radio network, Air America Radio. Hosted by Al Franken, it featured commentary and interviews arguing for left-wing positions on the issues of the day, and comically poking fun at the George W. Bush Administration. The show began as...

 on the Air America Radio
Air America Radio
Air America was an American radio network specializing in progressive talk programming...

 network.

In 2008, Franken narrowly defeated incumbent Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Senator Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

, by 312 votes, after a mandatory statewide manual recount. Coleman contested the outcome in court, but the Minnesota Supreme Court
Minnesota Supreme Court
The Minnesota Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Minnesota and consists of seven members. The court was first assembled as a three-judge panel in 1849 when Minnesota was still a territory. The first members were lawyers from outside of the region who were appointed by...

 unanimously upheld Franken's victory on June 30, 2009.
Franken was sworn in to the Senate on July 7, 2009.

Early life


Franken was born in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 to Phoebe G. Kunst – a homemaker and real estate
Real estate
In general use, esp. North American, 'real estate' is taken to mean "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; an item of real property; buildings or...

 agent – and Joseph P. Franken, a printing salesman. The family later moved to St. Louis Park
St. Louis Park, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 44,126 people, 20,782 households, and 10,557 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,122.5 persons per square mile . There were 21,140 housing units at an average density of 1,975.0 per square mile...

, a suburb
Suburb
The word suburb mostly refers to a residential area, either existing as part of a city or as a separate residential community within commuting distance of a city . Some suburbs have a degree of administrative autonomy, and most have lower population density than inner city neighborhoods...

 near Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis , nicknamed "City of Lakes" and the "Mill City," is the county seat of Hennepin County, the largest city in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and the 48th largest in the United States...

. Franken had a Jewish upbringing. His older brother Owen is a photojournalist; MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

's Bob Franken
Bob Franken
Bob Franken is a frequent guest on MSNBC and other networks. Franken was CNN's primary correspondent in President Clinton's impeachment. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He specializes in political reporting and often uses puns in his commentaries...

 is his cousin. Franken was graduated in 1969 from The Blake School, where he was on the wrestling team. He attended Harvard College
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

 and graduated with an A.B.
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 cum laude in 1973 in political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

.

Family


Franken met his wife, Franni (née Bryson), in his first year of college. In 2005, they moved back to Minnesota and reside in Minneapolis. The Frankens have two children: daughter Thomasin (born 1981) has degrees from Harvard and the French Culinary Institute and is a former elementary school teacher turned "food educator and private chef"; son Joe (born 1984) holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Princeton
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

.

Saturday Night Live


Franken began his performing career in high school at The Blake School, where he and long-time writing partner Tom Davis
Tom Davis (comedian)
Tom Davis is an American writer and comedian. He is an Emmy Award winner, and is best known for his former partnership with Al Franken, as half of the comedy duo "Franken & Davis" on Saturday Night Live.-Life and career:...

 were known for their humor. Franken honed his writing and performing skills at Minneapolis' Dudley Riggs
Dudley Riggs
Dudley Riggs is a noted improvisational comedian who created the Instant Theater Company in New York, which later moved to Minneapolis to become the Brave New Workshop comedy troupe. Riggs was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and joined the circus when he was five years old. His family performed...

' Brave New Workshop
Brave New Workshop
The Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre , located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been writing, performing and producing live sketch comedy and improvisation performances for 50 years – longer than any other theatre in the nation...

 theater, specializing in political satire
Political satire
Political satire is a significant part of satire that specializes in gaining entertainment from politics; it has also been used with subversive intent where political speech and dissent are forbidden by a regime, as a method of advancing political arguments where such arguments are expressly...

. He and Davis soon found themselves in "a life of near-total failure on the fringes of show business in Los Angeles."

Franken and Davis were recruited as two of the original writers (and occasional performers) on Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 (1975–1980, 1985–1995). In the latter period, only Franken returned as a performer, while Davis usually stayed behind the camera.

In Season 1 of SNL, as apprentice writers, the two shared a salary of $350 per week. Franken, who received seven Emmy nominations and three Emmy Award
Emmy Award
An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

s for his television writing and producing, created such characters as self-help
Self-help
Self-help, or self-improvement, is a self-guided improvement—economically, intellectually, or emotionally—often with a substantial psychological basis. There are many different self-help movements and each has its own focus, techniques, associated beliefs, proponents and in some cases, leaders...

 guru Stuart Smalley
Stuart Smalley
Stuart Smalley is a fictional character invented and performed by satirist Al Franken. The character originated on the television show Saturday Night Live, in a mock self-help show called "Daily Affirmation With Stuart Smalley." It first aired on SNL's February 9, 1991 episode hosted by Kevin Bacon...

 and such routines as proclaiming the 1980s to be the "Al Franken Decade." Franken was associated with SNL for over 15 years and, in 2002, interviewed former Vice President Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 while in character as Smalley. Franken and Davis wrote the script to the 1986 comedy film One More Saturday Night, appearing in it as rock singers in a band called "Bad Mouth." They also appeared in cameo roles in The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash and in the Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy
Edward Regan "Eddie" Murphy is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, singer, director, and musician....

 and Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd
Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, CM is a Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.-Early...

 film Trading Places
Trading Places
Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film, of the satire genre, directed by John Landis, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet...

.

Franken's most notorious SNL performance may have been "A Limo for the Lame-O," a commentary he delivered near the end of the 1979–80 season during a Weekend Update
Weekend Update
Weekend Update is a Saturday Night Live sketch that comments on and parodies current events. It is the show's longest running recurring sketch, having been on since the show's first broadcast, and is typically presented in the middle of the show immediately after the first musical performance...

 segment. Franken mocked controversial NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 president Fred Silverman
Fred Silverman
Fred Silverman is an American television executive and producer. He worked as an executive at the CBS, ABC and NBC networks, and was responsible for bringing to television such programs as the series Scooby-Doo , All in the Family , The Waltons , and Charlie's Angels , as well as the...

 as "a total unequivocal failure" and displayed a chart showing the poor ratings of NBC programs. Franken proclaimed that Silverman did not deserve a limousine. As a result of this sketch, Silverman refused Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels, CM is a Canadian-American television producer, writer, and comedian best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live and producing the various film and TV projects that spun off from it.-Early life:...

' request that Franken succeed him as SNLs head producer, prompting Franken to leave the show when Michaels did, at the end of the 1979–80 season. Franken later returned to the show in 1985, mostly as a writer, but also as an occasional performer best known for the Stuart Smalley
Stuart Smalley
Stuart Smalley is a fictional character invented and performed by satirist Al Franken. The character originated on the television show Saturday Night Live, in a mock self-help show called "Daily Affirmation With Stuart Smalley." It first aired on SNL's February 9, 1991 episode hosted by Kevin Bacon...

 character. He acknowledged using cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 while working for Saturday Night Live but says he no longer uses any illegal drugs. Franken left the show in 1995 in protest over losing the role of Weekend Update anchor to Norm Macdonald
Norm MacDonald
Norman Gene "Norm" Macdonald is a Canadian stand-up comedian, writer and actor. He is best known for his five seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, which included anchoring Weekend Update for three years...

.

Post-SNL


Franken is the author of five New York Times best-selling books, three of which reached #1, including Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations
Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations
Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations is a 1996 American book by Al Franken. It is satirically critical of 1990s right-wing political figures such as Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, Newt Gingrich, and particularly radio host Rush Limbaugh...

.

USO service



Franken has served as a volunteer with the United Service Organizations
United Service Organizations
The United Service Organizations Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization that provides morale and recreational services to members of the U.S. military, with programs in 160 centers worldwide. Since 1941, it has worked in partnership with the Department of Defense , and has provided support and...

 since he first visited Kosovo in 1999. Franken has conducted several overseas tours to both Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to participating in numerous celebrity handshake tours at military hospitals to visit wounded soldiers. He has done seven USO tours, four of which were to Iraq. His readiness to perform on USO tours was noted favorably by fellow USO performer Wayne Newton. On March 25, 2009, Franken was presented with the USO's Merit Award for his 10 years of service to the organization through visiting injured and deployed servicemembers.

Fox News lawsuit



In 2003, Penguin Books
Penguin Books
Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

 published Franken's book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, which included a cover photo of Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly (commentator)
William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. is an American television host, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator. He is the host of the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, which is the most watched cable news television program on American television...

 and a chapter accusing O'Reilly of lying. In August of that year, Fox News sued
Fox v. Franken
Fox News Network, LLC, v. Penguin Group , Inc., and Alan S. Franken was a civil lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on August 7, 2003...

, claiming infringement
Trademark infringement
Trademark infringement is a violation of the exclusive rights attaching to a trademark without the authorization of the trademark owner or any licensees...

 of its registered trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 phrase "Fair and Balanced". A federal judge found the lawsuit
Lawsuit
A lawsuit or "suit in law" is a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint...

 to be "wholly without merit". The incident with Fox focused media attention on Franken's book and, according to Franken, greatly increased its sales (see Streisand effect
Streisand effect
The Streisand effect is a primarily online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely...

).

Radio show



Franken signed a one-year contract in early 2004 to host a talk show for Air America Radio
Air America Radio
Air America was an American radio network specializing in progressive talk programming...

's flagship program with co-host Katherine Lanpher
Katherine Lanpher
Katherine Lanpher is an American writer, journalist, broadcaster, and podcaster, who came to national prominence as the co-host of the Air America Radio program The Al Franken Show in 2004 and 2005....

, who remained with the show until October 2005. The network was launched March 31, 2004. Originally named The O'Franken Factor but renamed The Al Franken Show
The Al Franken Show
The Al Franken Show was the flagship talk show of the former talk radio network, Air America Radio. Hosted by Al Franken, it featured commentary and interviews arguing for left-wing positions on the issues of the day, and comically poking fun at the George W. Bush Administration. The show began as...

 on July 12, 2004, the show aired three hours a day, five days a week for three years. The stated goal of the show was to provide the public airwaves with more progressive views to counter what Franken perceived to be the dominance of conservative syndicated commentary on the radio. "I'm doing this because I want to use my energies to get Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 unelected," he told a New York Times reporter in 2004.

Franken is a Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and for live performances of long...

 fan, and he used their songs as bumper music
Bumper music
Bumper music, or a bump, is a term used in the radio broadcasting industry to refer to short clips of signature or theme music used to buffer transitions between programming elements. Bumper music is commonly employed when a syndicated program takes a break for local station identification or...

 on his radio show. Franken's last radio show on Air America Radio was on February 14, 2007, at the end of which Franken announced his candidacy for the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

.

Other projects


Franken wrote the original screenplay and starred in the film Stuart Saves His Family
Stuart Saves His Family
Stuart Saves His Family is a 1995 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, and based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches from the early-to-mid 1990s. The movie tracks the adventures of would-be self-help guru Stuart Smalley, a creation of comedian Al Franken, as he attempts to save both his...

, which was panned by critics (receiving a rating of 29% on the website Rottentomatoes.com
Rotten Tomatoes
Rotten Tomatoes is a website devoted to reviews, information, and news of films—widely known as a film review aggregator. Its name derives from the cliché of audiences throwing tomatoes and other vegetables at a poor stage performance...

). He also co-wrote the film When a Man Loves a Woman
When a Man Loves a Woman (film)
When a Man Loves a Woman is a 1994 American romantic drama film written by Al Franken and Ronald Bass, starring Andy García, Meg Ryan, Tina Majorino, Mae Whitman, Ellen Burstyn, Lauren Tom and Philip Seymour Hoffman....

. He co-created and starred in the NBC sitcom LateLine
LateLine
LateLine is an American TV sitcom that ran on NBC from March 17, 1998, through March 16, 1999. Due to an abrupt cancellation, there were seven unaired episodes .Created by John Markus and Al Franken , LateLine depicted the...

 until it was canceled in Season 2. He appeared in the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate (2004 film)
The Manchurian Candidate is a 2004 American thriller film based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Richard Condon, and a reimagining of the previous 1962 film....

.

In 2003, Franken served as a Fellow with Harvard's Kennedy School of Government at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

Since 2005, Franken has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post is an American news website and content-aggregating blog founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti, featuring liberal minded columnists and various news sources. The site offers coverage of politics, theology, media, business, entertainment, living, style,...

. His most recent book, The Truth (With Jokes)
The Truth (with jokes)
The Truth is a book of political satire and humor by Al Franken, released in October 2005. The book's main focus is on the 2004 presidential election and Franken's research into the Republicans' strategy in their victory--as well as examples of subsequent political overreach which he predicts will...

, was released in 2005.

Franken has long been associated with the International Order of Odd Fellows (Manchester Unity), but in September 2009, his spokesperson said he is not a member.

Political activism prior to 2008



According to an article by Richard Corliss
Richard Corliss
Richard Nelson Corliss is a writer for Time magazine who focuses on movies, with the occasional article on music or sports. Corliss is the former editor-in-chief of Film Comment...

 published in Time, "In a way, Franken has been running for office since the late '70s." Corliss also hinted at Franken's "possibly ironic role as a relentless self-promoter" in proclaiming the 1980s "the Al Franken Decade" and saying, "Vote for me, Al Franken. You'll be glad you did!" In 1999, Franken released a parody book, Why Not Me?, detailing his campaign for the Presidency in 2000. He had been a strong supporter of Minnesota Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 Paul Wellstone
Paul Wellstone
Paul David Wellstone was a two-term U.S. Senator from the state of Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Before being elected to the Senate in 1990, he was a professor of political science at Carleton College...

 and was deeply affected by the senator's death in a plane crash shortly before the 2002 Senate election
United States Senate elections, 2002
The 2002 United States Senate election featured a series of fiercely contested elections that resulted in a victory for the Republican Party, which gained two seats and thus a narrow majority from the Democratic Party in the United States Senate. Senators who were elected in 1996, known as Senate...

. After the funeral, Rush Limbaugh
Rush Limbaugh
Rush Hudson Limbaugh III is an American radio talk show host, conservative political commentator, and an opinion leader in American conservatism. He hosts The Rush Limbaugh Show which is aired throughout the U.S. on Premiere Radio Networks and is the highest-rated talk-radio program in the United...

 and several other commentators identified by Franken as "rightwing bloggers" and "Republicans" accused the organizers and participants of Wellstone's remembrance ceremony of using the tragedy for political purposes. Conservative columnists Peggy Noonan
Peggy Noonan
Peggy Noonan is an American author of seven books on politics, religion, and culture and a weekly columnist for The Wall Street Journal...

 and Chris Caldwell asserted that 20,000 people booed
Booing
Booing is an act of showing displeasure for someone or something, generally an entertainer, by loudly yelling boo! or making other noises of disparagement, such as hissing. People may make hand signs at the entertainer, such as the thumbs down sign...

 Trent Lott
Trent Lott
Chester Trent Lott, Sr. , is a former United States Senator from Mississippi and has served in numerous leadership positions in the House of Representatives and the Senate....

. Franken, who attended, denied there was widespread jeering: "Along with everyone else, I cried, I laughed, I cheered. It was, to my mind, a beautiful four-hour memorial. I didn't boo. Neither did 22,800 of the some 23,000 people there." In Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Franken wrote that Noonan and Caldwell had later told him that they had not personally been at the memorial service. Franken felt that "the right wing line on the Wellstone Memorial" was accepted by some "mainstream" journalists such as Howard Kurtz
Howard Kurtz
Howard "Howie" Alan Kurtz is an American journalist and author with a special focus on the media. He is host of CNN's Reliable Sources program, and Washington bureau chief for The Daily Beast. He is the former media writer for The Washington Post. He has written five books about the media...

.

Franken said he learned that 21% of Americans received most of their news from talk radio
Talk radio
Talk radio is a radio format containing discussion about topical issues. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and often feature interviews with a number of different guests. Talk radio typically includes an element of listener participation, usually by broadcasting live...

, then an almost exclusively conservative medium. Said Franken, "I didn't want to sit on the sidelines, and I believed Air America could make a difference." In November 2003, Franken talked about moving to his home state of Minnesota to run for the Senate. The seat once held by Wellstone, then occupied by Republican Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

, was to be contested in the 2008 election. In 2005, Franken announced his move to Minnesota: "I can tell you honestly, I don't know if I'm going to run, but I'm doing the stuff I need to do in order to do it." He said that he would run as a Democrat.

In late 2005, Franken started his own political action committee
Political action committee
In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group, regardless of size, organized to elect political candidates or to advance the outcome of a political issue or legislation. Legally, what constitutes a "PAC" for purposes of regulation is a...

, called Midwest Values PAC
Midwest Values PAC
Midwest Values PAC is a political action committee, or PAC, that was founded by political satirist, best selling author, radio host, and US Senator Al Franken in the fall of 2005....

. By early 2007, the PAC had raised more than $1 million.

Franken was the subject of the 2006 documentary film Al Franken: God Spoke
Al Franken: God Spoke
Al Franken: God Spoke is a 2006 documentary film starring political commentator and current United States Senator Al Franken. The film was made by the same producers of The War Room...

, which premiered in April 2006 at the Tribeca Film Festival
Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival is a film festival founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff in a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the consequent loss of vitality in the TriBeCa neighborhood in Lower Manhattan.The mission of the festival...

 in New York City. It was released nationally on September 13 of that year.

Tax issues


During the 2008 election, New York state officials asserted that Al Franken Inc. had failed to carry required workers' compensation
Workers' compensation
Workers' compensation is a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee's right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence...

 insurance
Insurance
In law and economics, insurance is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss. Insurance is defined as the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another, in exchange for payment. An insurer is a company selling the...

 for employees who assisted him with his comedy and public speaking from 2002 to 2005. Franken paid the $25,000 fine to the state of New York upon being advised his corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

 was out of compliance with the state's workers' compensation laws. At the same time, the California Franchise Tax Board
California Franchise Tax Board
The California Franchise Tax Board collects state personal income tax and corporate income tax of California. It is part of the California State and Consumer Services Agency....

 reported that the same corporation owed more than $4,743.40 in taxes, fines, and associated penalties in the state of California for 2003 through 2007 because the corporation did not file tax returns in the state for those years. A Franken representative said that it followed the advice of an accountant who believed when the corporation stopped doing business in California that no further filing was required. Subsequently, Franken paid $70,000 in back income tax
Income tax
An income tax is a tax levied on the income of individuals or businesses . Various income tax systems exist, with varying degrees of tax incidence. Income taxation can be progressive, proportional, or regressive. When the tax is levied on the income of companies, it is often called a corporate...

es in 17 states dating to 2003 mostly from Franken's speeches and other paid appearances. Franken said he paid the income tax in his state of residence, and he will seek retroactive credit for paying the taxes in the wrong states.

Views


Franken had initially supported the Iraq War but opposed the 2007 troop surge
Iraq War troop surge of 2007
In the context of the Iraq War, the surge refers to United States President George W. Bush's 2007 increase in the number of American troops in order to provide security to Baghdad and Al Anbar Province....

. In an interview with MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

’s Joe Scarborough
Joe Scarborough
Charles Joseph "Joe" Scarborough is an American cable news and talk radio host, lawyer, author, and former politician. He is currently the host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, and previously hosted Scarborough Country on the same channel...

, Franken said that he "believed Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

", whose presentation at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 convinced him that the war was necessary. However, since then he had come to believe that "we were misled into the war" and urged the Democratically-controlled Congress to refuse to pass appropriations bills to fund the war if they don't include timetables for leaving Iraq. In an interview with Josh Marshall
Josh Marshall
Joshua Micah Marshall is an American Polk Award-winning journalist who founded Talking Points Memo, which The New York Times Magazine called "one of the most popular and most respected sites" in the blogosphere...

, Franken said of the Democrats, "I think we've gotta make [President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

] say, 'OK, I'm cutting off funding because I won't agree to a timetable.'"

Franken favors transitioning to a universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

 system, with the provision that every child in America should receive health care coverage, immediately. He has spoken in favor of protecting private pension
Pension
In general, a pension is an arrangement to provide people with an income when they are no longer earning a regular income from employment. Pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the former is paid in regular installments, while the latter is paid in one lump sum.The terms retirement...

s and Social Security
Social Security (United States)
In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

. He has also advocated cutting subsidies
Subsidy
A subsidy is an assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor A subsidy (also...

 for oil companies, increasing money available for college students, and cutting interest rate
Interest rate
An interest rate is the rate at which interest is paid by a borrower for the use of money that they borrow from a lender. For example, a small company borrows capital from a bank to buy new assets for their business, and in return the lender receives interest at a predetermined interest rate for...

s on student loan
Student loan
A student loan is designed to help students pay for university tuition, books, and living expenses. It may differ from other types of loans in that the interest rate may be substantially lower and the repayment schedule may be deferred while the student is still in education...

s.

U.S. Senate



2008 election




On January 29, 2007, Al Franken announced his departure from Air America Radio
Air America Radio
Air America was an American radio network specializing in progressive talk programming...

. On the day of his final show, February 14, Franken formally announced that he would run for the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 from Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

 in 2008. Challenging him for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party is a major political party in the state of Minnesota and the state affiliate of the Democratic Party. It was created on April 15, 1944, with the merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer–Labor Party...

 endorsement was Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer
Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is an American academic. He sought the endorsement of Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party as a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2008 but was defeated by Al Franken.-Background:...

, a professor, author, and activist. Other candidates were trial lawyer Mike Ciresi
Mike Ciresi
Michael "Mike" V. Ciresi is a prominent trial attorney and was a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate for the United States Senate from Minnesota. He dropped out on March 10, 2008. Ciresi gained his public reputation by litigating several high-profile mass tort cases...

, and Jim Cohen
Jim Cohen
Jim Cohen is an American human rights activist, attorney, environmentalist, and former candidate for the United States Senate seat from Minnesota then held by Republican Norm Coleman. Cohen sought the endorsement of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, but withdrew his candidacy after...

, an attorney and human rights activist who had dropped out of the race earlier.

On April 13, 2007, Franken's campaign filed a campaign finance
Campaign finance
Campaign finance refers to all funds that are raised and spent in order to promote candidates, parties or policies in some sort of electoral contest. In modern democracies such funds are not necessarily devoted to election campaigns. Issue campaigns in referendums, party activities and party...

 report. He raised $1.35 million in the first quarter of 2007. The incumbent Senator, Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman
Norman Bertram Coleman, Jr. is an American attorney and politician. He was a United States senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009. Coleman was elected in 2002 and served in the 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. Before becoming a senator, he was mayor of Saint Paul, Minnesota, from 1994 to 2002...

, raised $1.53 million. On July 8, 2007, the Franken campaign stated that it expected to announce that Franken had raised more money than Coleman during the second quarter of the year, taking in $1.9 million to Coleman's $1.6 million, although as of early July 2007, Coleman's $3.8 million cash on hand exceeded Franken's $2 million.

In late May 2008, the Minnesota Republican Party released a letter regarding an article Franken had written for Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

 in 2000 entitled "Porn-O-Rama!" The letter, signed by six prominent GOP women, including a state senator and state representative, called on Franken to apologize for what they referred to as a "demeaning and degrading" article. Several DFL leaders expressed personal and political discomfort with the article as well. A Franken campaign spokesman responded that, "Al had a long career as a satirist. But he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator. And as a senator, Norm Coleman has disrespected the people of Minnesota by putting the Exxon
Exxon
Exxon is a chain of gas stations as well as a brand of motor fuel and related products by ExxonMobil. From 1972 to 1999, Exxon was the corporate name of the company previously known as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey or Jersey Standard....

s and Halliburton
Halliburton
Halliburton is the world's second largest oilfield services corporation with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands and divisions worldwide and employs over 50,000 people....

s ahead of working families. And there’s nothing funny about that."


On June 7, 2008, Franken was endorsed at the DFL
Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
The Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party is a major political party in the state of Minnesota and the state affiliate of the Democratic Party. It was created on April 15, 1944, with the merger of the Minnesota Democratic Party and the Farmer–Labor Party...

 convention. In a July 2008 interview with CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

, Franken was endorsed by Ben Stein
Ben Stein
Benjamin Jeremy "Ben" Stein is an American actor, writer, lawyer, and commentator on political and economic issues. He attained early success as a speechwriter for American presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford...

, the noted entertainer, speechwriter, lawyer and author who is known for his conservative views and generally supports Republican candidates. Stein said of Franken, "He is my pal, and he is a really, really capable smart guy. I don't agree with all of his positions, but he is a very impressive guy, and I think he should be in the Senate."

On September 9, 2008, Franken won the Democratic primary for the Senate seat.

During his campaign for the Senate, Franken was criticized for advising SNL creator Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels
Lorne Michaels, CM is a Canadian-American television producer, writer, and comedian best known for creating and producing Saturday Night Live and producing the various film and TV projects that spun off from it.-Early life:...

 on a political sketch ridiculing Senator John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

's ads attacking Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. Coleman's campaign reacted, saying, "Once again, he proves he's more interested in entertainment than service, and ridiculing those with whom he disagrees."

Preliminary reports on election night November 4 had Coleman ahead by over 700 votes; but the official results certified on by November 18, 2008, had Coleman leading by only 215 votes. As the two candidates were separated by less than 0.5 percent, the Secretary of State of Minnesota, Mark Ritchie
Mark Ritchie
Donald Mark Ritchie was elected the 21st Minnesota Secretary of State on November 7, 2006. He was re-elected in 2010. He is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. He grew up in Iowa, and graduated from Iowa State University in 1971...

, authorized the automatic recount stipulated in Minnesota election law. In the recount, ballots and certifying materials were examined by hand, and candidates could file challenges to the legality of ballots or materials for inclusion or exclusion with regard to the recount. On January 5, 2009, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified the recounted vote totals, with Franken ahead by 225 votes.

On January 6, 2009, Coleman's campaign filed an election contest, which led to a trial before a three-judge panel. The trial ended on April 7, when the panel ruled that 351 of 387 disputed absentee ballots were incorrectly rejected and ordered them counted. Counting those ballots raised Franken's lead to 312 votes. Coleman appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court
Minnesota Supreme Court
The Minnesota Supreme Court is the highest court in the U.S. state of Minnesota and consists of seven members. The court was first assembled as a three-judge panel in 1849 when Minnesota was still a territory. The first members were lawyers from outside of the region who were appointed by...

 on April 20. On April 24, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. and oral arguments were conducted on June 1.

On June 30, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected Coleman's appeal and said that Franken was entitled to be certified as the winner. Shortly after the court's decision, Coleman conceded. Governor Tim Pawlenty
Tim Pawlenty
Timothy James "Tim" Pawlenty , also known affectionately among supporters as T-Paw, is an American politician who served as the 39th Governor of Minnesota . He was a Republican candidate for President of the United States in the 2012 election from May to August 2011...

 signed Franken’s election certificate that same evening. Franken was sworn in to the Senate on July 7, 2009, using the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 of late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone
Paul Wellstone
Paul David Wellstone was a two-term U.S. Senator from the state of Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Before being elected to the Senate in 1990, he was a professor of political science at Carleton College...

.

Tenure


Franken was sworn in to the Senate on July 7, 2009, 246 days after the November 2008 election. He became the fifth senator to be sworn in since the class of 2008 was sworn in January 2009. The desk where he sat was the same desk that Paul Wellstone
Paul Wellstone
Paul David Wellstone was a two-term U.S. Senator from the state of Minnesota and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, which is affiliated with the national Democratic Party. Before being elected to the Senate in 1990, he was a professor of political science at Carleton College...

 used, and had been kept open for him by Senate leaders.

On August 6, 2009, Franken presided over the confirmation vote of Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Maria Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice....

 to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. A year later on August 5, 2010, Franken presided over the confirmation vote of Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 7, 2010. Kagan is the Court's 112th justice and fourth female justice....

. His first piece of legislation was the Service Dogs for Veterans Act , which he wrote jointly with Sen. Johnny Isakson
Johnny Isakson
John Hardy "Johnny" Isakson is the junior United States Senator from Georgia and a member of the Republican Party. Previously, he represented in the House....

 (R). The bill, which passed the Senate via unanimous consent
Unanimous consent
In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, or in the case of the parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house, is a situation in which no one present objects to a proposal. The chair may state, for instance: "If there is no objection, the motion...

, established a program with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense...

 to pair disabled veterans with service dogs.

A video began circulating on the Internet of Franken at the Minnesota State Fair
Minnesota State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair is the state fair of the U.S. state of Minnesota. Its slogan is "The Great Minnesota Get-Together." It is the 2nd largest fair in the United States, and the largest state fair in the United States in terms of average daily attendance, though the State Fair of Texas runs...

 on September 2, 2009, engaging in a discussion with a group of Tea Party protesters on health care reform, and soon found itself going viral
Viral video
A viral video is one that becomes popular through the process of Internet sharing, typically through video sharing websites, social media and email...

. The discussion was noted for its civility, in contrast to the explosive character of several other similar discussions between members of the 111th Congress and their constituents that had occurred over the summer.

Citing the case of Jamie Leigh Jones
Jamie Leigh Jones
Jamie Leigh Jones was an employee of KBR, an American engineering, construction and private military contracting company. She is notable for accusing then fellow KBR employees of drugging and gang-raping her on July 28, 2005, at Camp Hope, Baghdad, Iraq...

, Franken offered an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies like KBR "if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault
Sexual assault
Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children....

, battery and discrimination cases to court." It passed the U.S. Senate, 68 to 30, in a roll-call vote.

In May 2010 Franken proposed a financial reform legislation amendment which would create a board to select which credit rating agency
Credit rating agency
A Credit rating agency is a company that assigns credit ratings for issuers of certain types of debt obligations as well as the debt instruments themselves...

 would evaluate a given security; currently any companies issuing a security may select which company evaluates the security. The amendment was passed; however, the financial industry lobbied to have Franken's amendment removed from the final bill. Negotiations between the Senate and House of Representatives, whose version of financial reform did not include such a provision, resulted in the amendment's being watered down to require only a series of studies being done upon the issue for two years. After the studies, if the SEC has not implemented another solution to the conflict of interest problem, Franken's solution will go into effect.

A March 2010 poll taken by Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports is an American media company that publishes and distributes information based on public opinion polling. Founded by pollster Scott Rasmussen in 2003, the company updates daily indexes including the President's job approval rating, and provides public opinion data, analysis, and...

 placed Franken's approval rating at 50% with Minnesotans.

In August 2010, Franken made faces and hand gestures and rolled his eyes while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Mitch McConnell
Addison Mitchell "Mitch" McConnell, Jr. is the senior United States Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Minority Leader.- Early life, education, and military service :...

 (R-KY
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

) delivered a speech in opposition to the confirmation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan
Elena Kagan is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 7, 2010. Kagan is the Court's 112th justice and fourth female justice....

 to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Franken's actions prompted McConnell to remark, "This isn't 'Saturday Night Live', Al." Following Kagan's confirmation, Franken delivered a handwritten apology to McConnell and issued a public statement saying that McConnell had a right "to give his speech with the presiding officer just listening respectfully."

Committee assignments

  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
    The United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions generally considers matters relating to health, education, labor, and pensions...

    • Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety
      United States Senate Health Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety
      The Senate Health Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety is one of the three subcommittees within the Senate Committee on Health-Jurisdiction:...

    • Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging
  • Committee on the Judiciary
    United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
    The United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary is a standing committee of the United States Senate, of the United States Congress. The Judiciary Committee, with 18 members, is charged with conducting hearings prior to the Senate votes on confirmation of federal judges nominated by the...

    • Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
      United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights
      The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights is one of seven subcommittees within the Senate Judiciary Committee.-Jurisdiction:...

    • Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law
    • Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law (Chair)
    • Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts
      United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts
      The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts is one of seven subcommittees within the Senate Judiciary Committee.-Jurisdiction:...

  • Committee on Indian Affairs
    United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
    The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is a committee of the United States Senate charged with oversight in matters related to the American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples. A Committee on Indian Affairs existed from 1820 to 1947, after which it was folded into the Committee on...

  • Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    The United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources has jurisdiction over matters related to energy and nuclear waste policy, territorial policy, native Hawaiian matters, and public lands....

  • Special Committee on Aging
    United States Senate Special Committee on Aging
    The United States Senate Special Committee on Aging was initially established in 1961 as a temporary committee; it became a permanent Senate committee in 1977...


Books

  • I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!: Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley (Dell Books, 1992) ISBN 0-440-50470-8
  • Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations
    Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations
    Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations is a 1996 American book by Al Franken. It is satirically critical of 1990s right-wing political figures such as Bob Dole, Phil Gramm, Newt Gingrich, and particularly radio host Rush Limbaugh...

     (Delacorte Press, 1996) ISBN 0-385-31474-4
  • Why Not Me? (Delacorte Press, 1999) a parody-journal of the fictional “Franken campaign” for President ISBN 0-385-31809-X
  • Oh, the Things I Know! A Guide to Success, or Failing That, Happiness
    Oh, the Things I Know!
    Oh, the Things I Know! A Guide to Success, or Failing That, Happiness is a 2003 book written by Al Franken that offers humorous life advice on everything from dating to getting a good job. The title parodies Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go!, which is a popular gift given to college graduates....

     (Plume Books, 2003) ISBN 0-452-28450-3
  • Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right
    Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
    Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them is a satirical book on American politics by comedian, political commentator and now Senator Al Franken, published in 2003 by Dutton, a subsidiary in the Penguin Group. Franken had a study group of 14 Harvard graduate students known as "TeamFranken" to help him...

     (Dutton Books, 2003) ISBN 0-525-94764-7
  • The Truth (With Jokes)
    The Truth (with jokes)
    The Truth is a book of political satire and humor by Al Franken, released in October 2005. The book's main focus is on the 2004 presidential election and Franken's research into the Republicans' strategy in their victory--as well as examples of subsequent political overreach which he predicts will...

     (Dutton Books, 2005) ISBN 0-525-94906-2

CDs and compilations

  • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization, and High-Finance Fraudsters with Greg Palast
    Greg Palast
    Gregory Allyn Palast is a New York Times-bestselling author and a freelance journalist for the British Broadcasting Corporation as well as the British newspaper The Observer. His work frequently focuses on corporate malfeasance but has also been known to work with labor unions and consumer...

     (2004)
  • The O'Franken Factor Factor — The Best of the O'Franken Factor
  • The Al Franken Show Party Album

As performer

  • Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

     (1975-1995) (TV)
  • Franken and Davis at Stockton State (1984) (TV)
  • Tunnel Vision
    Tunnel Vision (film)
    Tunnel Vision is 1976 comedy anthology film featuring Roger Bowen, Chevy Chase, John Candy, Howard Hesseman, Joe Flaherty, Laraine Newman, Betty Thomas, Phil Proctor, Al Franken, Ron Silver, Tom Davis, Michael Overly. It was directed by Neal Israel and Bradley R...

     (1976)
  • The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978) (TV)
  • Grateful Dead: Dead Ahead
    Grateful Dead: Dead Ahead
    Dead Ahead is a concert video by the Grateful Dead. It was recorded at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on October 30 and October 31, 1980, and released in 1981. An expanded version was released in 2005...

     (1980)
  • Trading Places
    Trading Places
    Trading Places is a 1983 American comedy film, of the satire genre, directed by John Landis, starring Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. It tells the story of an upper class commodities broker and a homeless street hustler whose lives cross paths when they are unknowingly made part of an elaborate bet...

     (1983)
  • One More Saturday Night (1986)
  • Stuart Saves His Family
    Stuart Saves His Family
    Stuart Saves His Family is a 1995 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, and based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches from the early-to-mid 1990s. The movie tracks the adventures of would-be self-help guru Stuart Smalley, a creation of comedian Al Franken, as he attempts to save both his...

     (1995)
  • LateLine
    LateLine
    LateLine is an American TV sitcom that ran on NBC from March 17, 1998, through March 16, 1999. Due to an abrupt cancellation, there were seven unaired episodes .Created by John Markus and Al Franken , LateLine depicted the...

     (1998) (TV)
  • From the Earth to the Moon (1998) (TV)
  • Harvard Man
    Harvard Man
    Harvard Man is a 2001 feature film written and directed by James Toback. It had only a limited distribution in theatres in July 2002, and received little critical or popular acclaim, although it achieved some success when it was released on video and DVD in October of that year.The film stars...

     (2001)
  • Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism (2004)
  • The Manchurian Candidate
    The Manchurian Candidate (2004 film)
    The Manchurian Candidate is a 2004 American thriller film based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Richard Condon, and a reimagining of the previous 1962 film....

     (2004)
  • Indian Point: Imagining the Unimaginable
    Indian Point Energy Center
    Indian Point Energy Center is a three-unit nuclear power plant station located in Buchanan, New York just south of Peekskill. It sits on the east bank of the Hudson River, 38 miles north of New York City...

     (2004) HBO
    Home Box Office
    HBO, short for Home Box Office, is an American premium cable television network, owned by Time Warner. , HBO's programming reaches 28.2 million subscribers in the United States, making it the second largest premium network in America . In addition to its U.S...

     documentary (TV)
  • The Al Franken Show
    The Al Franken Show
    The Al Franken Show was the flagship talk show of the former talk radio network, Air America Radio. Hosted by Al Franken, it featured commentary and interviews arguing for left-wing positions on the issues of the day, and comically poking fun at the George W. Bush Administration. The show began as...

     (2004) (TV)
  • Tanner on Tanner
    Tanner on Tanner
    Tanner on Tanner is a 2004 comedy and the sequel series to the 1988 Robert Altman directed and Garry Trudeau written miniseries about a failed presidential candidate, Tanner '88...

     (2004) (TV)
  • Al Franken: God Spoke
    Al Franken: God Spoke
    Al Franken: God Spoke is a 2006 documentary film starring political commentator and current United States Senator Al Franken. The film was made by the same producers of The War Room...

     (2006)

As writer

  • Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live
    Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

     (1975-1995) (TV)
  • The Paul Simon Special (1977) (TV)
  • Steve Martin's Best Show Ever (1981) (TV)
  • Bob and Ray, Jane, Laraine and Gilda (1981) (TV)
  • The Coneheads (with Tom Davis
    Tom Davis (comedian)
    Tom Davis is an American writer and comedian. He is an Emmy Award winner, and is best known for his former partnership with Al Franken, as half of the comedy duo "Franken & Davis" on Saturday Night Live.-Life and career:...

    ) (1981) (TV)
  • Franken and Davis at Stockton State (1984) (TV)
  • The New Show
    The New Show
    The New Show was a NBC sketch comedy show produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, which ran for only one season from January 6 to March 23, 1984. Apart from being 60 minutes in length and entirely pre-recorded, the show is similar in format to SNL...

     (1984) (TV)
  • One More Saturday Night (with Tom Davis) (1986)
  • When a Man Loves a Woman
    When a Man Loves a Woman (film)
    When a Man Loves a Woman is a 1994 American romantic drama film written by Al Franken and Ronald Bass, starring Andy García, Meg Ryan, Tina Majorino, Mae Whitman, Ellen Burstyn, Lauren Tom and Philip Seymour Hoffman....

     (with Ron Bass) (1994)
  • Stuart Saves His Family
    Stuart Saves His Family
    Stuart Saves His Family is a 1995 comedy film directed by Harold Ramis, and based on a series of Saturday Night Live sketches from the early-to-mid 1990s. The movie tracks the adventures of would-be self-help guru Stuart Smalley, a creation of comedian Al Franken, as he attempts to save both his...

     (1995)
  • Lateline
    Lateline
    Lateline is an Australian television news and current affairs program produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, airing weeknights at on ABC1. The program has developed a reputation for head-to-head debates on current issues and political interviews. Lateline is followed by its sister...

     (1998) (Creator) (TV)
  • The Al Franken Show
    The Al Franken Show
    The Al Franken Show was the flagship talk show of the former talk radio network, Air America Radio. Hosted by Al Franken, it featured commentary and interviews arguing for left-wing positions on the issues of the day, and comically poking fun at the George W. Bush Administration. The show began as...

      (2004) (TV)

Electoral history



External links