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- Sen. Al Franken said he would be open to making public the findings of an ethics investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations he’s facing.
- Many of Franken’s colleagues in the Senate said the Ethics Committee should reveal all of what they find.
WASHINGTON – Al Franken returned to the Senate Monday after four women accused him of sexual misconduct, including allegations that he groped them and forcibly kissed one woman. But more details could be on the horizon for Franken, as his Democratic colleagues expressed a desire to make the findings of the ethics investigation into the allegations public at the time of their conclusion.
In a press conference Monday, Franken said he was “ashamed” and “embarrassed” by the allegations, but stressed he does not remember having committed any of the inappropriate acts in the ways described by the women.
“It’s been clear that there are some women – and one is too many – who feel that I have done something disrespectful and it’s hurt them and for that, I am tremendously sorry,” Franken said. “I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious when in these circumstances, much more careful, much more sensitive, and that this will not happen again going forward.”
As to whether he would want the findings of the ethics investigation to be made public, Franken said, “I would be open to that.” Some of his colleagues on the Judiciary Committee agreed.
“They should be made public,” said Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, adding that he is “very optimistic” the Ethics Committee will release all information uncovered.
“The findings of the ethics investigation, I would think so,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. “In the occasion of a public official, I would think people should have the opportunity to see what the involvement is.”
“First of all everybody who behaves this way should be held accountable,” Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono told Business Insider, noting that she supports Franken’s openness about making the investigation’s findings public.
“And whatever the Ethics Committee decides that I think we also need to change the House and Senate procedures and how these complaints are handled because right now it’s sort of one-sided in my view,” Hirono said.
Other Democrats were hesitant to commit to putting the entirety investigation results out in the open.
“I think it’s something we should look at,” said Sen. Chris Murphy. “I guess I’m not intimately familiar with what parts of that are public knowledge and what aren’t, but I think it’s something we should look at.”
“I’d wanna have a sense of the precedent before I opine,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse told Business Insider. “Ordinarily transparency is good but I don’t know.”
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a former chairman of the Judiciary, deferred to members of the Ethics Committee, who do not comment on pending investigations or reviews.
The findings of a lengthy ethics investigation could reveal more information than is currently known. Franken himself said he is unsure if more women will come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct.
“If you had said to me two weeks ago that a woman was going to say that I had made her uncomfortable and disrespected her in one of these ways I would have said ‘no,'” Franken said in an interview with Minnesota Public Radio. “So, you know, I don’t know. I can’t say.”