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Franken looking into back taxes issue

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Al Franken
Al Franken in his campaign headquarters office. Franken said his accountant is investigating whether he owes back taxes in California.
MPR file photo/Mark Zdechlik

DFL Senate hopeful Al Franken is dismissing accusations that he is evading paying back taxes as partisan attacks. 

State Republican Party Chair Ron Carey has accused Franken of dishonest tax filings. Al Franken's business owes California several thousand dollars in back taxes along with interest and penalties. 

Speaking Sunday at a campaign event on renewable energy, Franken said his accountant is investigating whether any mistakes were made, and whether he and his wife owe more taxes.

"Bottom line of this is that Franni and I always paid federal and state income tax on all our income," said Franken. "So we are going through that, we have people working on that as we speak."

Franken said he trusted that his accountant was keeping track of filing his taxes in each state where he lived and worked.

"Believe me, we want to do this as fast as possible but we also want to do it right," Franken said. "I don't want to be giving incomplete answers, I want to be confident that I know everything, and we have to go through all the different income that I earned."

A campaign spokeswoman said she expects to release information about the tax review shortly. 

Earlier this year, Franken's business paid nearly $26,000 to the Worker's Compensation Board of New York for failing to pay workers compensation premiums for Franken's employees for a few years.

Franken and fellow DFLer Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer are seeking party endorsement to run against Republican Senator Norm Coleman.