Daily Digest: Another allegation against Franken

Good morning, and welcome to Tuesday. Here’s the Digest.

1. A woman says Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010, telling CNN that he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair. It is the first allegation of improper touching by Franken, who is a Democrat, while he was in office. It comes just days after Leeann Tweeden, a local radio news anchor in California, said that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her in 2006, when Franken was a comedian.
Franken has since issued an apology to Tweeden and faces a potential investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. Lindsay Menz, a 33-year-old woman who now lives in Frisco, Texas, reached out to CNN on Thursday hours after Tweeden made her story public. Menz said she wanted to share an “uncomfortable” interaction that left her feeling “gross.” (CNN)

2. Two prominent progressive groups are calling on Franken to resign in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against him. Credo Action and Indivisible called for Franken’s resignation Monday after a second woman accused Franken of groping her without her consent. “Sen. Al Franken had the chance last week to take full responsibility for past sexual harassment, sexual assault and any other behavior that demeaned women. He failed to do so,” Credo said in a statement. “We believe that Sen. Franken should immediately resign from the U.S. Senate and that Gov. Mark Dayton should appoint a progressive woman to replace him.” (The Hill)

3. Minnesota is seeking $5 billion in damages from the 3M Corp. in what could become one of the largest environmental lawsuits in the nation’s history. In a court document filed Friday in the pending lawsuit, the Minnesota attorney general said that chemicals manufactured by 3M have caused damage to human health and the environment. The chemicals were manufactured by 3M starting in the 1940s and ending in 2000. 3M dumped the chemicals in landfills in Oakdale, Woodbury and Lake Elmo, ending in the 1970s. The chemicals allegedly have leached into the groundwater of much of the county, affecting the water of about 60,000 residents. The attorney general is suing 3M for damage to the environment, in a case expected to go to trial in February. (Pioneer Press)

4. Gov. Mark Dayton announced several key staff changes Monday ahead of his final year in office. Dayton named Joanna Dornfeld as his new chief of staff. She will replace Jamie Tincher, who is leaving the administration to become deputy mayor of St. Paul under Mayor-elect Melvin Carter. Dornfeld has been Dayton’s deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs since 2014. She previously held posts with the Minnesota Department of Revenue, Minnesota High Tech Association and Minnesota House. (MPR News)

5.  Rep. Tony Cornish, facing an investigation into sexual harassment allegations by women he worked with at the State Capitol, was accused years ago of aggressive behavior toward his ex-wife. In 1990, a Koochiching County judge granted Cornish’s ex-wife, Mary, a domestic abuse protection order against him. They had divorced two years earlier. A copy of the one-year protection order, dated July 23, 1990, offers scant details of the circumstances, saying only that “the evidence justifies issuance of the order.” It also instructed Cornish to participate in divorce counseling. “He climbed in through the window,”  retired Koochiching County sheriff’s deputy George Gray said. “She was in the shower.” The report stood out in his mind, he said, “because it was such an egregious offense.” Gray added: “In my opinion if someone else had done that they would have been arrested. If it had been my call he would have been arrested.” (Star Tribune)

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