David Letterman, Al Franken headlining fundraiser for Tammy Duckworth

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Al Franken and David Letterman helped raise campaign cash for Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., back in 2015.

WASHINGTON — Comic David Letterman and former comic Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., are the headliners for a high-dollar Oct. 25 fundraiser for the Senate campaign of Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

“Serious fun” is what the invitation calls the New York City event, where demand is expected to be so high — and space so “extremely limited” — that contributions have to be paid in advance.

Duckworth is running to replace Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill. She first faces a March 2016 Democratic primary against lawyer Andrea Zopp.


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Even the description of the price points for the Duckworth funder take note of the enormous funny potential of Franken, in a past career a comedy writer and “Saturday Night Live” star, and Letterman, who retired this year from his “Late Show” on CBS.

The donor levels, per the invite:

• Kinda Serious: $1,000

• Serious: $2,700

• Very Serious: $5,400

• Totally Serious: $10,400

The fundraiser is at the home of Alex Soros, the philanthropist son of billionaire businessman and Democratic activist George Soros, who is one of the richest men in the world. About Alex, a 2009 New York University grad, from his website: “Mr. Soros is the founder of The Alexander Soros Foundation, an organization promoting civil rights, social justice and education by making grants to cutting-edge organizations in the United States and abroad.”

Earlier this year, Franken helped Duckworth out with a fundraiser on Martha’s Vineyard; he also appeared with her at a March press conference in Washington with other senators.

Kirk hosts a fundraiser Thursday for his Senate re-election bid at Charlie Palmer’s restaurant, a few blocks from the Capitol. The price levels go from $500 to $2,500 to host. He has other funders in Washington on Oct. 22 and Oct. 28.


Matt McGrath, who has been acting as a spokesman for Duckworth, has been on the payroll of the supposedly neutral Democratic Party of Illinois for months. On Monday, McGrath said he joined the Duckworth campaign as the deputy manager, where he will handle communications. Kaitlin Fahey is the campaign manager. Leah Israel is the national finance director for Duckworth’s Senate bid.

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