Democratic Sen. Al Franken reportedly won’t resign amid a sexual misconduct scandal, but his future in Congress remains unsettled amid more calls Sunday for congressional investigations into his and potential Senator Roy Moore’s conduct with women.
A spokesman for Franken, who represents Minnesota, told his hometown paper The Star Tribune on Saturday that the senator would not resign.
“No,” the spokesman said. “He is spending time with his family in Washington, D.C., and will be through the Thanksgiving holiday. And he’s doing a lot of reflecting.”
Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden last week accused Franken of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour.
She said Franken, over her protests, kissed her while rehearsing a sketch. And later on the tour, Franken was photographed with his hands over Tweeden’s breasts, grinning at the camera, as she slept wearing a flak vest onboard a military aircraft.
Franken immediately apologized, saying he felt "disgusted with myself" for the photo, though he disputed Tweeden's recollection of the skit rehearsal. And he has since apologized directly to Tweeden.
South Carolina GOP Sen. Tim Scott told “Fox News Sunday” that the Senate, as chamber Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested last week, should open an ethics investigation.
“We certainly should start the process,” Scott said. “This is absolutely the right starting point. All sexual harassment is inexcusable. And everyone should be punished at the same level.”
Scott sounded even more emphatic about Moore, the GOP nominee for an open Senate seat in Alabama accused by at least eight women of sexual misconduct roughly 40 years ago.
“The allegations are stronger than the denial,” said Scott, repeating his position. “Roy Moore should find something else to do, which is my way of suggesting that he should not be in a race.”
Election Day is Dec. 12 in the race for the Alabama Senate seat vacated when GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions earlier this year became U.S. attorney general.
Moore has refused to quit the race, amid calls from McConnell and other top GOP senators.
Reports about congressional members’ sexual misconduct with staffers, reportedly settled with millions in taxpayer dollars with no public disclosure, began to surface shortly after the Moore allegations were made public earlier this month.
Among the most outspoken was Virginia GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock, who said a young female staffer on Capitol Hill was allegedly greeted at an office door by a male lawmaker who was wearing only a towel, then invited her into the room and exposed himself.
“This has been going on for a very long time, and I'm glad that people are speaking out about it,” Utah GOP Rep. Mia Love told “Fox News Sunday."
However, she declined to say what Moore or Franken should do next or compare the allegations against them.
“I'm calling them all on the carpet,” she said. “All of these situations are completely different. … I'm not qualified, nor is it appropriate for us to process, prosecute, judge and sentence in the seven minutes that we have here.”
Michigan Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell on Sunday appeared to take a similar position, calling for a thorough look at the entire situation, without finger pointing.
Dingell suggested on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that calls for the GOP-controlled Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Franken should be played out.
The committee has never expelled a member for actions taken before he or she was a senator.
“All of us have to bring about real change in this country,” Dingell said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.