Minnesota: Franken Concedes Error on Workers’ Comp Rules

Posted April 15, 2008 at 6:45pm

In a statement from his campaign manager last week, comedian and Senate candidate Al Franken (D) conceded the $25,000 judgement for his failure to comply with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board was an error on the part of his corporation.

Franken campaign manager Andy Barr said the $25,000, plus an additional penalty of $833 for not complying with regulations on disability insurance, had been thoroughly reviewed by the Al Franken Inc. accountant, who was unable to determine why exactly the company made the oversight and was not in full compliance.

“As small business owners know, such episodes are sometimes the result of a bookkeeping error, and sometimes the result of an error by the government agency in question, Barr said. “The Frankens have accepted responsibility for this oversight, and their personal corporation is in full compliance.”

Barr maintained in the statement that Franken first heard about the judgement last month and took immediate action to pay the fine, despite the workers’ compensation board reportedly trying to contact Franken at his New York address since 2005. During that time, Franken’s campaign confirmed that members of Franken’s family have sometimes lived at his New York property, though Franken did not know the board was trying to contact him.

Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R) campaign, however, rejected the Franken campaign’s characterization of small business owners, asking him to apologize for drawing comparisons between his situation and what the GOP campaign called “the hardships facing small business owners.”

“To suggest that small businesses operate the same way as Alan Franken Inc. has operated for years is an appalling effort to deflect responsibility,” said Cullen Sheehan, Coleman’s manager. “Al Franken owes more than just $25,000 to the State of New York — he owes an apology to Minnesotans. Minnesota small businesses play by the rules — and so should have Al Franken.”

— Shira Toeplitz