Franken Makes Resignation Official in Letter to Dayton

January 03, 2018 05:28 AM

Al Franken officially resigned as U.S. Senator at noon Tuesday in a letter addressed to Gov. Mark Dayton.

The letter reads:

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“I write to resign my seat as a United States Senator for the State of Minnesota effective at 1 pm Eastern Standard Time on January 2, 2018. Serving the State of Minnesota in the U.S. Senate has been a privilege and an honor. I am grateful to Minnesotans for giving me the chance to serve our state and our nation, and I am proud to have worked on their behalf.”

RELATED: Franken Resigns: Feels Work as Senator has 'Improved People's Lives'

Franken announced his intent to resign on Dec. 7 amid multiple allegations of inappropriate conduct.

In his resignation speech, Franken said he plans to remain vocal about policy issues.

“I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice,” he said.

His official resignation Tuesday sets the stage for Tina Smith’s ascension to the seat. Dayton had announced the appointment of his lieutenant governor to Franken’s Senate seat six days after Franken’s announcement. 

She will be officially sworn in on Wednesday. 

Franken will immediately be eligible for a pension from the U.S. Senate because he's 66 years old. Pensions for departing members of Congress are not nearly as generous as they once were.

Franken served just over eight years and five months in office. According to a pension formula published by the Congressional Research Service, Franken will likely receive between $23,664 and $26,622 based on his years of service. That's much less generous than before Congress changed it's own pension system in the 1980s.

"It's a defined contribution plan rather than a defined benefit," says Tom Schatz, president of the government watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste.  "Which means people must contribute to the plan rather than simply being in Congress and having the plan being fully funded by the taxpayers."

Schatz also says retiring members of Congress do not receive free private health care, although they can buy into a government health insurance program.

Financial disclosure forms in the U.S. Senate show Franken's personal wealth is likely somewhere in the range of $7 to $8 million from his entertainment and writing career.

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Michael Oakes

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