Franken's not joking around with his financial disclosure
Before he became a politician, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) made at least $1 million a year salary as a comedian and author, according to his financial disclosure he filed when he first ran for the U.S. Senate. But Franken's first full financial disclosure as a sitting senator doesn't provide any insight into how much money he continues to take in royalties from television, film and book products.
The personal financial disclosure forms require all members of Congress to disclose any outside income. Franken appears to have gotten around that requirement because his income comes to a corporation, Alan Franken Inc., of which he is listed as president and joint owner.
The disclosure lists Alan Franken Inc. as "a multi media Professional Services Corporation including but not limited to writing, acting, producing and personal appearances in all film/video/digital/TV formats and all print media." Franken's stake in this corporation is listed between $500,000 and $1 million, and he does not report receiving any income from it in 2008.
Before running for senator, Franken earned a salary from the corporation. A financial disclosure he filed in 2007 as a candidate reveals he made $1 million in salary during 2006, although that dropped to $17,500 in 2007. His most recent disclosure seems to indicate he is no longer receiving a regular salary from his corporation.
Franken does indicate he has agreements to receive continued royalties for many of his past ventures. In the disclosure's "Agreements" section, he separately lists residuals for more than 20 projects, including Saturday Night Live and his books. The disclosure does not list any information on how much these residuals may be or how they are paid, but it would appear they go to Alan Franken Inc., allowing Franken to avoid disclosing just how lucrative his creative career has been.
Many of his congressional colleagues have also dabbled in writing, and even acting, and usually the resulting royalties are listed on their disclosures.