Senate Ethics Panel Opens Preliminary Inquiry Into Franken Amid Allegations

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, on Capitol Hill, Wedn... Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Colorado Supreme Court Justice Allison Eid, on her nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) MORE LESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — As allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful lawmakers roil Congress, a Senate ethics panel is opening a preliminary inquiry into Minnesota Sen. Al Franken.

Five women in the last two weeks have accused the Democrat of misconduct in years past. On Thursday, a woman told CNN that Franken cupped her right breast when she stood next to him for a photo in December 2003.

Senators on the bipartisan ethics panel say in a statement that they are aware of the allegations and are opening the inquiry into Franken’s alleged misconduct.

Franken has apologized and said he welcomes an ethics investigation.

Before the ethics committee announcement, his spokesman released a statement saying that Franken “has never intentionally engaged in this kind of conduct.”

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