Following the recent allegations of sexual assault against a news anchor, Justice Democrats, a powerful progressive group, launched a petition Thursday calling for Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn.) resignation.
“Franken must go. We do not tolerate those who abuse their power,” Justice Democrats PAC executive director Saikat Chakrabarti told the Washington Times in a statement.
Justice Democrats is a group run by former Bernie Sanders campaign staffers, and it already has Franken's replacement in mind. The petition pegs Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) to take the senator's seat.
“Representative Keith Ellison has a proven track record of integrity and fighting for progressive principles,” Chakrabarti said.
What's the story?
On Thursday, Leeann Tweeden, a Los Angeles news anchor on talk radio KABC-FM's “McIntyre in the Morning,” said Franken “kissed and groped” her without consent while on a USO Tour overseas in 2006. The alleged kiss occurred during the USO show rehearsal they were performing together.
“You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed,” Tweeden wrote in a post on KABC’s website.
Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton responded to the accusations against Franken by calling for a U.S. Senate ethics investigation, but he stopped short of calling for the senator's resignation.
How are people reacting to the allegations?
The married senator agreed to cooperate with the investigation.
Some of Franken's followers distanced themselves from the senator in light of the allegations.
A Minnesota rape survivor who is championing for legislation to aid sexual assault survivors told the StarTribune, she no longer wants Franken to sponsor her bill.
Another group of women, who worked for Franken in recent years, released a letter showing their support for the senator. They said he always “treated us with the utmost respect,” StarTribune reported.
Franken's apology to Tweeden
Last week, Tweeden said during an interview on the syndicated talk show "The View " that Franken wrote her a personal apology letter.
‘There’s no excuse, and I understand why you would feel violated by that photo,’” Tweeden said Franken wrote to her about the photo that showed Franken reaching at Tweeden’s breasts while she slept.
According to the StarTribune, Tweeden accepted the senator's apology.
Franken also apologized publicly but said he has a different memory of the kiss.
If Franken resigns, Dayton will make a special appointment to replace the senator until the next election cycle in 2018.