Washington – Rep. Barney Frank, the longtime Democratic congressman from Massachusetts and a favorite GOP target for crafting legislation to reform Wall Street business practices, is expected to announce Monday that he will not seek reelection next year.
Frank, 71, has served 16 terms in Congress. His office released a brief statement saying Frank would hold a press conference in Newton, Mass., Monday afternoon.
The combative and bombastic former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee was the author, along with former Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, of a bill that tightened regulation of banks and financial institutions in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008. Frank was a key negotiator with the George W. Bush administration in late 2008, when the Wall Street bailout plan was hatched.
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The act, known as Dodd-Frank, has been routinely blasted by Republican presidential candidates as a drag on job creation. Frank has also been criticized for his close ties to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Republicans blame for the collapse of the subprime mortgage industry. Frank, known for his spirited defense of Democratic policies in committee hearings and on the House floor, has rejected any blame for the mortgage crisis.
He is likely the nation's best-known gay politician and came out publicly early in his congressional career. In 1990 he was formally reprimanded by the House for an association with an alleged male prostitute.
While Frank's district is typically solidly Democratic, he faced a closer-than-usual challenge from Republican Sean Bielat last year.
© 2011 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
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