Franken fined for not carrying workers' compensation insurance

Al Franken
Al Franken listens to staff members during a visit to a health clinic in Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

The New York Workers' Compensation board said Al Franken, Inc. failed to pay workers' compensation premiums for its employees from June of 2002 through March of 2005. The Franken campaign says it was not aware of a November 2006 judgment on the matter until this week.

Campaign Spokeswoman Jess McIntosh says Franken's accountant is investigating the matter to determine whether Franken's business did fail to pay workers' compensation premiums, or whether the state of New York made a mistake.

"It's absolutely silly to suggest that the Frankens are somehow bad employers," McIntosh said. "They've had their small business incorporated for close to 20 years. This is the only problem that they've ever had with the workers comp. board and the second they learned of it, they moved to correct it."

Franken critics, including the Republican Party of Minnesota, strongly criticized the DFL Senate candidate over the judgment and have been denouncing Franken for not paying the fine. They said failing to pay workers' compensation premiums contradicts Franken's claims that he would be a champion of working Americans.

McIntosh said that although Franken is paying the $25,000 assessment, he is not acknowledging that his business did anything wrong.

"We're not actually sure what happened at this point. As most small business owners know, when you're dealing with bureaucratic entities sometimes they make the mistake, sometimes you do," she said. "We don't know which one happened in this case but we're going to pay the fine in good faith so our accountant can deal with it on his time not the presses and not the Republican party's."