Franken basks in attention, big payday from book

DFL Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar in 2016. Both have recent books on store shelves. Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

Sen. Al Franken is getting plenty of Washington beltway buzz over his latest book — and he’s also gotten big bucks for it so far.

The Minnesota Democrat’s “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” is being mined for tidbits and humorous asides that the former “Saturday Night Live” cast member has worked hard to contain during his two terms in the Senate. James Hohmann, a Minnesota-raised writer for the Washington Post, took a dive into the pages for a lengthy online post Monday.

The book ranked 3rd in the most-recent New York Times bestsellers list for hardcover nonfiction books. It’s the first book since 2005 from Franken, who has several bestsellers to his name. He took office in 2009.

The precise terms of Franken’s deal with his publisher aren’t known. But his latest financial disclosure form filed with the U.S. Senate show he earned a $332,750 advance last year for the book.

That’s more than four times what fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, also a Democrat, got for the “Senator Next Door” autobiography published in 2015. Her financial disclosure forms indicate she has been paid $75,000 in royalties from publishing house MacMillan Holdings. Her latest Senate filing says the University of Minnesota Press has acquired paperback publishing rights.

Franken’s deal has also been more lucrative so far than one by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who is out this year with “This Fight is Our Fight.” Her financial disclosure form filed this May pointed to a $200,000 advance. But Warren’s 2014 “A Fighting Chance” reaped her a $625,000 advance in 2015 and $1.15 million in 2014. She also earns royalties on her books.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is among his party’s book kings. He pulled down more than $102,000 in royalties in 2015 and $800,000 in 2012 for books he published while in office.

Rank-and-file senators earn a salary of $174,000 per year.