Before Al Franken was a Democratic senator from Minnesota, he was one of the original wordsmiths and an occasional performer for Saturday Night Live, a gig he held on and off from the show's conception in 1975 until the mid 90's. (He's likely best remembered for Stuart Smalley, a fictional self-help guru he invented and played for years.)
Franken, who has held his Senate seat since 2009, is still reaping the benefits of his days as a writer-performer. New Senate disclosure forms out Thursday show Franken made up to $50,000 in interest in 2012 from Broadway Video Inc., the entertainment company belonging to SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels. He also made royalties from song writing, performing, writing and producing the late-night Saturday comedy show, as well as from SNL merchandising.
The forms do not say how much in royalties Franken took in last year, but they do show he also continues to be paid for six books he authored before being elected to the Senate, some of them biting satires of right-wing politics. These include "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" and "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."
Franken also made royalties in 2012 from cameo appearances years ago, such as his 2004 cameo as a reporter in the political thriller "The Manchurian Candidate" and his 1983 appearance as a baggage handler in "Trading Places."
Franken, whose office didn't respond to request for comment from Whispers, makes a congressional salary of $174,000 per year.