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Top Democratic donors threatens to withhold cash over Al Franken’s resignation

One of the Democratic Party’s most significant financial patrons is contemplating withdrawing her support from politicians she says moved too quickly to pressure former Minnesota Sen. Al Frank to resign his office amid accusations of sexual assault.

“For me this is dangerous and wrong,” the donor, Susie Tompkins Buell, told the New York Times in a text message. “I am a big believer in helping more women into the political system but this has given me an opportunity to rethink of how I can best help my party.”

Buell argued further that Franken’s rapid resignation did not allow him sufficient time to respond to the multiple accusations he faced before he was pressured to resign. His last day in the Senate was Jan. 2.

“In my gut they moved too fast,” she wrote. Franken “was never given his chance to tell his side of the story,” Buell added.

According to campaign finance records collected by OpenSecrets, Buell has given Democratic candidates millions of dollars over the decades individually and through her foundation. She made her fortune as the founder of the clothing company Esprit.

Speaking to the Times, Buell particularly singled out New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, the first Democrat to speak out against Franken. Gillibrand has made advocacy for sexual harassment victims one of her signature issues and is sometimes mentioned as a potential presidential candidate for 2020.

“I believe she miscalculated and has shot herself in the foot,” Buell said. “I have supported her for many years. Will I going forward? To be determined.”

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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