Top donors to the Democratic Party still aren’t pleased with Kirsten Gillibrand.
The junior senator from New York made waves when she became the first Democratic senator to publicly call for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign after eight women accused him of misconduct, including several instances caught on camera.
A year later, those with deep pockets seem poised to keep punishing Gillibrand where it hurts most: her war chest.
Susie Tompkins Buell, a co-founder of Esprit and the North Face, told Politico that Gillibrand “stained (her) reputation as a fair player” when she called for Franken to step down.
“I do hear people refer to Kirsten Gillibrand as ‘opportunistic’ and shrewd at the expense of others to advance herself and it seems to have been demonstrated in her rapid treatment of her colleague Al Franken,” Buell said.
“I heard her referred to as ‘she would eat her own’ and she seems to have demonstrated that. I know (Gillibrand) thought she was doing the right thing but I think she will be remembered by this rush to judgment. I have heard some of her women colleagues regret joining her.”
Most other donors stayed anonymous, including one who said she “did the damage that Republicans could not do themselves.”
Another “major national Democratic fundraiser” told Politico that “it’s tragic what happened to Al.”
Among the accusations against Franken were Leann Tweeden’s claims that he forcibly kissed her during rehearsal for a skit on a 2006 USO tour. The former “Saturday Night Live” star was also photographed groping Tweeden over her flak jacket while she was asleep.
“I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep,” Tweeden wrote in a blog post last year. “I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.”
Other women accused him of groping them during photo ops.
After initially denying the allegations, Franken said in late November 2017 that he “crossed a line.”
“I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I’m sorry,” the Democratic senator said.
“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people,” Franken said in the statement.
“I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many,” he said.
Less than two weeks later, Franken announced that he would resign from his Senate seat and officially stepped down on Jan. 2.
Gillibrand, a likely 2020 presidential candidate, raised about $18 million for her 2018 reelection and won about two-thirds of the votes, easily beating Republican opponent Chele Farley. She also earned about 3.7 million votes, more than any other New York candidate in that cycle.
“Leadership means standing up for your values when it’s hard,” her spokesman, Glen Caplin, told Politico.