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Tammy Baldwin backs ethics probe into Al Franken sexual misconduct claim

November 17, 2017 GMT

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said she supports an ethics investigation into a claim of sexual misconduct that surfaced Thursday against her Democratic colleague, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota.

Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a statement that she’s “glad to see that Sen. Franken immediately apologized” in response to the claim that he kissed and groped a TV and radio host, Leeann Tweeden, without her consent in 2006. Tweeden made the allegation public Thursday.

“This kind of behavior isn’t ok whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat, and I support an Ethics Committee investigation,” Baldwin said.

Franken said in a statement that he apologizes for, and supports an ethics investigation into, his actions. Tweeden said the incident happened while the two were on a United Service Organizations tour to entertain U.S. troops in the Middle East.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of U.S. Senate Republicans, called on Baldwin on Thursday to return donations received from Franken’s political action committee.

Baldwin told MSNBC in a Thursday interview that her campaign will contribute $20,000 received from Franken’s PAC to “a women’s veteran initiative” in Wisconsin.

Baldwin is up for re-election in 2018. At least two Republicans — state Sen. Leah Vukmir, of Brookfield, and Delafield businessman Kevin Nicholson — are running for the seat.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of U.S. House Republicans, also called on Democrat Randy Bryce, who’s challenging U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, to return contributions from Franken.

Bryce’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.