This will be a shock to everyone who knows me or is familiar with my work: I don’t think the Senate Ethics Committee has any business investigating Al Franken.
Before you dismiss me as a turncoat bleeding heart or a defender of gropers and sexual harassment, let me explain.
First of all, I think Al Franken is a despicable human being. I thought so before he was elected to the Senate, and my opinion has not changed. I have no doubts he sexually harassed many women – more than those who’ve come forward to date.
So, why shouldn’t the Senate Ethics Committee investigate his abuses?
Because, for the last 20 years, unbeknownst to most of us, the Congress has been actively covering up sexual abuse of their congressional staffs by members of the House and Senate in secret and paying our settlements to keep the victims quiet.’
Then comes the news about Franken, whose lightweight abuses – at least so far – don’t even involve alleged offenses of his staff. Some have been campaign related; others took place before he even became a senator.
Wouldn’t you say it’s crazy for Congress to secretly cover up sexual harassment by members on the job while pursuing ethics charges against members whose activities pre-date their time in Congress or activities unrelated to their work in Congress? Isn’t that a wacky double standard?
Furthermore, I’m going to take a wild guess at the motive for the “preliminary investigation” that has already been announced.
This could only be a decision approved by Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader. Nothing happens in the Senate without his knowledge and approval. So, what would be his motivation? Does he have a grudge against Franken?
No, he has a grudge against Judge Roy Moore, who is about to be elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Alabama. And McConnell has made it clear he’d like to see the Senate refuse to seat him. He toyed with the idea of getting another Republican to run against him, even though Moore beat all of his Republican challengers in the primaries – despite McConnell’s intervention in the race.
Moore, as you know, has faced allegations of sexual improprieties going back more than 40 years. But that’s only McConnell’s excuse for wanting to block his entry into the club. The real reason is that Moore has actually run against McConnell. He’s made it very clear he’s going to Washington to end the reign of this establishment Republican power broker.
Of course, that would be a difficult sell given the Congress’ past non-accountability for recent sexual harassment by members against their own staffs.
So, how would McConnell pull off his goal of rejecting Moore’s right to serve in the Senate?
He’ll set a precedent with Al Franken. After all, who would object? Even Ted Cruz has pulled his endorsement (prematurely, I would add) for Moore. Democrats surely don’t want him in the Senate. It’s quite possible Democrats would even go along with an investigation of Franken if they were aware of the reason for it – a prelude to turning away Moore, who, if seated, would instantly become the standard-bearer of anti-establishment Republicans.
If you think my theory sounds conspiratorial and off the wall, you just don’t know how devious the Deep State is – and how desperate it is to survive the Donald Trump Decade.
So, before you dismiss my theory, give it more thought. Look for the signs. Don’t jump up and down because Al Franken is being investigated. Remember, to the Democrats he’s something of an embarrassment right now. He represents Minnesota, which has a Democratic governor who will quickly and seamlessly choose a replacement for him. And it won’t be someone less radical than Franken.