Entries in Barney Frank (10)


Barney Frank Seeks Senate Appointment

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- It’s only his second day of his retirement, and already Barney Frank wants back in the game.  The former Massachusetts congressman confirmed on Friday morning that he’s interested in the interim appointment to fill John Kerry’s Senate seat.

“A month ago, a few weeks ago in fact I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Friday.  “But that deal now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial economy.”

Frank was referring to the agreement passed in the House and Senate this week that puts America past the so-called "fiscal cliff," but left the automatic spending cuts associated with the sequester slated to take shape on March 1.  Another Congressional head-to-head is expected in the coming months over those cuts, and Frank said he wants to be part of that fight.

“I’m not going to be coy; it’s not something I’ve ever been good at.  I’ve told the governor that I would now like, frankly, to do that because I would like to be a part of that,” Frank said.  ”Coach, put me in.”

Massachusetts election law dictates that a special election must take place between 145 and 160 days after an out-going representative has vacated their seat.  The special election will be one to watch, but in the interim time period it will fall on Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint an interim replacement to fill Kerry’s seat upon his confirmation as secretary of state.

The former congressman doesn’t seem to be interested in launching a new career.  Frank started the interview telling Joe Scarborough he planned to “write a couple books…give lectures, do some teaching and…basically run my mouth for money.”

Of the Senate appointment, Frank said, “It’s only a three-month period.  I wouldn’t want to do anything more.  I don’t want to run again.”

Frank retired this year after serving the state of Massachusetts for more than 30 years in the House.  Last year, he became the first sitting member of Congress to marry a same-sex partner with his wedding to James Ready.  If he is appointed, Frank would likely be a reliable liberal voice in the Senate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WATCH: Nancy Pelosi Dancing Queen at Barney Frank’s Wedding

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is known for her ability to work the House floor for votes on legislation, but it is her moves on the dance floor at Rep. Barney Frank’s wedding reception last weekend that’s drawing attention now — on Youtube.

Video from a cellphone shows Pelosi swaying and twirling with Frank’s best man, Terry Bean, to ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” Saturday, at Frank and longtime partner Jim Ready’s wedding reception in Newton, Mass.  

The nuptials make Frank, who is retiring from Congress when his term ends in January, the first sitting congressman to enter into a same-sex marriage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


RFK’s Grandson Will Run for Barney Frank’s Seat

Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Joseph P. Kennedy III, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, is running for Congress.

Kennedy will seek the seat being left open by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., a liberal who decided not to run for reelection as his district became more Republican.

Kennedy, 31, a prosecutor in Massachusetts, is the first of his family’s generation to seek office. His father served in Congress from 1987 to 1999.

In early January, John Walsh, the chairman of the Massachusetts Democrats, said in a statement that he was “excited” that Kennedy was considering a run for office.

Kennedy is expected to make his announcement on Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rep. Barney Frank to Marry Partner

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Congressman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said Thursday that he would marry his longtime partner, Jim Ready, 42, a first in national American politics.

Frank is one of seven self-identified LGBT representatives in the history of Congress.

Frank. 71, announced in November that he intends to retire from Congress at the end of his term in 2013.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


SC Flyer Campaign Focuses on Romney's Position on Gay Rights

ABC News(CHARLESTON, S.C.) -- If a Democratic-allied super PAC has its way, Mitt Romney's past statements on gay rights issues will come back to haunt him in South Carolina this week.

The group, American Bridge 21st Century, has produced an anti-Romney flyer designed to expose a series of Romney's more sympathetic comments about the gay and lesbian community.

"We thought you'd like to see how much common ground there is between Mitt Romney and some of the great voices of the LGBT rights movement," the top of the flyer reads.

What follows are four Romney quotes paired with similar comments by gay rights leaders Harvey Milk, Audre Lorde, Lt. Dan Choi and the gay Massachusetts congressman, Barney Frank.

"The gay community needs more support from the Republican Party," reads one of Romney's quotes on the flyer, which is printed on pink paper.

The group began distributing the fliers on car windshields in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday outside a forum moderated by Mike Huckabee and S.C. Congressman Tim Scott. They plan to continue handing them out all week long at selected venues throughout the state, including in church parking lots on Sunday morning.

American Bridge's goal is to chip away at Romney's support among conservative voters in the state, especially evangelical Christians.

"This isn't about painting Romney as a liberal to voters in South Carolina," the group's president, Rodell Mollineau, said in an interview with ABC News. "It really is about showing voters that this man has no core and he will say anything to get elected."

Mollineau's group, which has dispatched trackers to follow the GOP candidates over the course of the primary season, plans other attacks on Romney this week ahead of the state's Jan. 21 primary. American Bridge will use video, social media and possibly newspaper ads to exploit what they see as the former Massachusetts governor's vulnerabilities in at least two other areas: his position on abortion and his evolution as a conservative.

The hand-outs are meant to mirror fliers that were reportedly distributed by Romney during his 2002 gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts that included a statement by Romney and his running mate, Kerry Healy that read: "All citizens deserve equal rights regardless of their sexual preference."

Romney campaign strategist Eric Fehrnstrom, who served as communications director for the candidate's 2002 bid, recently told the Huffington Post that he never saw or approved the decade-old fliers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Kennedy Considers Running for Barney Frank’s Seat

Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A member of the Kennedy family may be making a bid for Congress once again.

A person close to Joseph P. Kennedy III has confirmed to ABC News that the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy is considering running for the seat to be vacated by Rep. Barney Frank.

At only 31, Kennedy would be the first of his Kennedy generation to seek political office. His father, Joseph P. Kennedy II, served in Congress from 1987 to 1999.

Kennedy, a prosecutor in Massachusetts’s Middlesex County, decided to explore the possibility of running for the fourth district seat when Frank announced in late November that he wouldn’t seek reelection, the person said.

“He is pretty close to making a decision,” the person said.

In a statement later on Thursday, Kennedy announced that he will leave his post at the district attorney’s office within two weeks and then begin talking with people in the state’s fourth district.

“I will make a final decision about entering the race in the weeks thereafter,” he said.

Kennedy has already asked “key folks” in Frank’s district and more prominent figures in Massachusetts for their advice, the source said, without naming the people with which Kennedy has spoken.

Frank, one of the more liberal members of Congress, decided not to run as his district became more Republican and as approval ratings for President Obama continue to dive. Rhode Island Public Radio first reported that Kennedy has been lining up fundraisers as part of a potential bid for Congress.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Dems Jockey to Replace Rep. Barney Frank on Banking Committee

Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After Rep. Barney Frank announced his decision on Monday to retire at the end of this term, attention quickly turned to who might take over his slot as the top-ranked Democrat on the powerful House Financial Services committee.

If House Democrats are able to score a net gain of 26 seats in next fall’s election, this lawmaker would ascend to the powerful committee’s chairmanship. The committee has jurisdiction over all issues pertaining to the economy, the banking system, housing, insurance, and securities and exchanges. Additionally, it has control over monetary policy, international finance, international monetary organizations and efforts to combat terrorist financing.

Waiting in the wings is Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat who made headlines last year for an ethics investigation into whether she abused her powers as a member of Congress.

After Frank announced his retirement, Waters unabashedly made her intentions quickly known.

“As the next most senior member of the committee, the current ranking member on the Capital Markets subcommittee and the former chair of the Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee, I hope to use my experience to continue and expand [Rep. Frank's] work in the committee,” Waters, an 11-term lawmaker from Los Angeles, wrote in a statement Monday. “I will continue to champion practical regulations, while making sure they work for consumers and the financial sector, a sector which has the right to be profitable but the obligation to be fair, two concepts which are not mutually exclusive.”

Waters, a popular member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has persistently maintained her innocence and asked for the case to be dismissed. Since the allegations first surfaced, she has repeated to reporters that there was “no benefit, no improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced: no case.”

Among the charges Waters faced is that she allegedly broke House conduct rules for her role helping a minority-owned bank obtain federal bailout money during the financial collapse in September 2008. Waters’ husband was a former board member of the bank and held more than $300,000 in stock at the time of the requested meeting.

A trial scheduled for last November was postponed indefinitely and the investigation effectively reset after two lawyers on the ethics committee resigned following allegations they secretly communicated with Republicans on the panel and compromised the investigation. Outside counsel was then hired to determine whether the case against Waters should proceed. That report is due on Jan. 2.

But beyond the ethics investigation, Waters’ rise to the top is far from a done deal. The Democratic Steering and Policy Committee nominates members for the next Congress’s committee assignments and then the full House Democratic Caucus votes to confirm the nomination next year during the lame-duck Congress.

Now other senior Financial Services Democrats are thought to be lobbying Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for a chance to skip through the informal line of succession.

Following Waters in Democratic seniority are Reps. Carolyn Maloney (N.Y.), Luis Gutierrez (Ill.), Nydia Velazquez, (N.Y.), and Mel Watt (N.C.).

Maloney, in particular, is expected to make a run at the gig after she was passed over in seniority to make room for another CBCer, Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), to take the Democrats’ top position on the House committee on Oversight and Government Reform last year. A spokesman for Maloney declined to comment on her future intentions related to the committee’s leadership.

Maloney is a close ally of Pelosi and is credited with championing the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights. Waters, who came to Congress the same year as House Speaker John Boehner, is considered to be a strong vote counter and is a three-time chief deputy whip of the Democratic caucus. A spokesman for Pelosi declined to comment on the brewing battle for the slot.

Democratic aides say a potential battle between Waters and Maloney “puts leadership in a tough position” because both lawmakers are deserving of the position and have labored steadily in the trenches of the committee for years.

Frank declined to endorse a Democrat to replace him atop the committee, but added that while seniority should be the initial consideration, “you do try to have some rules to minimize conflict” and “it shouldn’t take an enormous amount for people to vote no.”

“I think the rule that we have is a pretty good one,” Frank said. “Seniority should be, in legal terms, a very rebuttable presumption.”

Waters is currently the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government-Sponsored Enterprises while Maloney is the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

The Congressional Black Caucus, which Waters formerly chaired, is expected to discuss the committee’s shakeup at a meeting Wednesday afternoon. One senior Democratic aide close to the CBC said that “everyone is behind [Waters], including Rep. Watt,” and contended that “it does not make sense to look beyond Waters.”

“Waters is next in line,” the source said. “She has ranking in seniority and it would be looked at as unfair if she was not considered.”

Another senior Democratic aide said that based on her record, Waters is stronger than the rest of the field, in addition to having more seniority than anyone else.

“Whether you like her or not, Waters is a well-respected member of House,” another Democratic source said. “She is second in line, and seniority is an important aspect.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Barney Frank Will Not Seek Re-election to Congress

ABC News(NEWTON, Mass.) -- Rep. Barney Frank, the first serving member of Congress to come out as gay and a powerful Democrat whose name is attached to the sweeping Wall Street reform bill, announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2012.

“I am required to choose. I have to choose between fulfilling my obligation as a ranking member of the Financial Services Committee on behalf of financial reform and my responsibility to continue to be a full representative of the people who voted for me in 2010,” Frank said in a statement to reporters in Newton, Mass. Monday afternoon.  “I do not choose to run for Congress in 2012.”

Frank said he believes that if he had decided to run he would have won in 2012, but the challenges created by redistricting proved not to be worth an attempt to extend his tenure for two more years.

“I don’t want to be torn between a full-fledged campaign in a district with 325,000 new people, and my obligation to the existing constituents,” Frank said. “I would be asking 325,000 new constituents to give me the mandate to be their advocate with the federal government for only two years. Starting on a series of projects only to be passing them along in various stages of incompletion to a successor two years later is not a responsible way to act.”

Frank became the first member of Congress to come out as gay six years after he first took office, coming out in 1987 and breaking an important barrier in American politics.

Asked what sort of legacy he hoped to leave behind in Congress, Frank said that “people should leave their legacies to other people to describe,” but admitted that his coming out will likely highlight his career.

Frank survived scandal to become one of the most powerful Democrats on Capitol Hill during more than 30 years in office. The Massachusetts congressman chaired the House Financial Services Committee when Democrats were in the majority from early 2007 until early 2011, becoming the main House Democrat overseeing the financial industry during one of the most turbulent economic eras of U.S. history.

Frank was instrumental in ushering the Wall Street bailout through Congress in 2008. And he, along with former Sen. Chris Dodd, have their names attached to a sweeping Wall Street reform bill passed through Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010.

Dodd resigned in 2010 rather than face a tough reelection fight.

The Wall Street reform bill – known as “Dodd-Frank” – placed tough new rules on the financial sector as a way to avoid future mortgage crises. It also enacted a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to protect Americans from large corporations. The law has been pilloried by Republicans as Washington overreach.

He has not been without controversy. Frank admitted to paying a male prostitute who was living in his Capitol Hill apartment in the 1980s and servicing other clients there.

Frank survived attempts to expel him from the House and stayed on to become one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington.

Democrats do not expect to have a problem winning the district in Frank’s absence. Barack Obama and Sen. John Kerry both garnered more than 60 percent of the vote there in 2008.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Barney Frank: ‘Gender Bias’ Contributed to Warren Downfall

House [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., blames an unconscious culture of sexism for the failed appointment of Elizabeth Warren to the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“Part of it I have to say was gender bias,” Frank said on the House floor Wednesday.

Warren, a former Harvard professor, was tapped as a White House adviser and helped set up the newly formed CFPB, but she was ultimately passed over by the Obama administration.  Instead, they nominated former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead the start-up government agency.

The CFPB is a new federal agency that will put regulators in charge of policing the financial services industry.  It was widely assumed that Warren would not have obtained the necessary 60 votes to overcome a filibuster of her nomination.

Warren was the subject of harsh questioning from Republican members of Congress during her numerous appearances before the House Financial Services Committee when she was working to create CFPB.

But she is also known for asking tough questions herself -- grilling Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner back in 2009 when she chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel, created by Congress to oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Frank did not say who he blames for gender bias -- the White House for not nominating her or Republicans in the Senate for promising to block her nomination.

“Ms. Warren encountered from some people, maybe unconscious on their part, the notion that very strong-willed women with strong opinions might have a place but not in the financial sector,” said Frank.

Jeff Emerson, a spokesman for Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee, pointed out that Warren could easily have been nominated by the White House over Cordray.

“Mr. Frank obviously ignores the fact that President Obama could nominate whomever he wanted for this position and it is President Obama who chose not to nominate Elizabeth Warren,” said Emerson.

Warren will return to Harvard on Aug. 1, according to the Treasury Department, but there has been wide speculation that Warren might run for Senate in Massachusetts.  The consumer advocate is considered to be a potential Democratic challenger to Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Barney Frank: Ahead in Polls But 'Tea Party's No. 1 Target'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TAUNTON, Mass.) -- With a Republican opponent coming uncomfortably close in the polls, Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank has dipped into his own savings to fund his re-election fight, one of the toughest races he's faced in 30 years in the House.

Frank gave $200,000 to his campaign from his personal retirement savings, a move he said would sting if he didn't think he'd get it back.

Frank's opponent is a previously unknown 35-year-old ex-Marine named Sean Bielat. He's been able to out-raise Frank this month thanks to help from national conservatives like Sarah Palin.

"The Tea Party has said I'm their number one target," Frank said. "I decided I was not going to let the Tea Party and the right wing win."

For decades, Frank has enjoyed a firm grip on his seat, but the powerful House member faces rising voter discontent.

The latest polling shows that Frank still has a 12-point lead over Bielat.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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