Barney Frank: Wikis


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Barney Frank

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 4th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 1981
Preceded by Robert Drinan

Assumed office 
January 4, 2007
Preceded by Mike Oxley

In office
Governor Francis W. Sargent (1973-1975)
Michael Dukakis (1975-1979)
Edward J. King (1979-1981)

Born March 31, 1940 (1940-03-31) (age 69)
Bayonne, New Jersey
Political party Democratic
Domestic partner Jim Ready
Relations sister: Ann Lewis[1]
Residence Newton, Massachusetts
Alma mater Harvard College
Harvard Law School
Occupation Attorney, United States Representative
Committees House Financial Services Committee
Religion Jewish[2]

Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) is the United States House Representative for Massachusetts's 4th congressional district since 1981. He is a member of the Democratic Party. In 1982, he won his first full term, and he has been re-elected ever since by wide margins.[3] In 1987, he became the second openly gay member of the House of Representatives, and he has become one of the most prominent LGBT politicians in the United States.[4]

Frank became the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee in 2007 after the Democratic Party won a majority in the House. The committee oversees the entire financial services industry, which includes the securities, insurance, banking, and housing industries.

Frank is known for his quick wit and self-deprecating sense of humor. He is also widely considered to be one of the most powerful members of Congress.[5][6][7] Josh Gottheimer describes Frank as "one of the brightest and most energetic defenders of civil rights issues."[8]


Early life

Frank was born Barnett Frank[9] to a Jewish family in Bayonne, New Jersey, one of four children of Sam and Elsie. Frank's father ran a Jersey City truck stop—a place Frank describes as "totally corrupt"—and served a year in prison, when Frank was 6 or 7, for refusing to testify to a grand jury against Frank's uncle.[10] Frank was educated at Harvard College, where he resided in Kirkland House and then Winthrop House, graduating in 1962. Frank's undergraduate studies were interrupted by the death of his father, and Frank took a year off to help resolve the family's affairs prior to his graduation.[10] He taught undergraduates at Harvard while studying for a Ph.D., but left in 1968 before completing the degree, to become Boston mayor Kevin White's Chief Assistant, a position he held for three years. He then served for a year as Administrative Assistant to Congressman Michael J. Harrington. Frank later graduated from Harvard Law School, in 1977, while serving as Massachusetts State Representative.


In 1972 Frank was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served for eight years. While in state and local government, Frank taught part time at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Boston University. He published numerous articles on politics and public affairs, and in 1992 he published Speaking Frankly, an essay on the role the Democratic Party should play in the 1990s.

1981, Congressional Pictorial Directory - Frank's first term as Congressman

In 1979, Frank was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. A year later, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 4th congressional district, hoping to succeed Father Robert Drinan, who had left Congress following a call by Pope John Paul II for priests to withdraw from political positions. In the Democratic primary held on September 16, 1980, Frank won 51.3 percent of the vote in a four-candidate field. His nearest opponent, Arthur J. Clark, won 45.9 percent and finished almost 4,500 votes behind.[11] As the Democratic nominee, Frank faced Republican Richard A. Jones in the general election and won narrowly, 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent.[12]

For his first term, Frank represented a district in the western and southern suburbs of Boston, anchored by Brookline and Newton, Massachusetts. However, in 1982, redistricting forced him to run against Republican Margaret Heckler, who represented a district centered on the South Coast, including Fall River and New Bedford. Although the newly configured district retained Frank's district number — the 4th — it was geographically more Heckler's district. Frank focused on Heckler's initial support for President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts, and won by twenty percentage points. He has not faced credible opposition since, and has been reelected thirteen times.[13][14]

Frank is known for his quick wit, and his self-deprecating sense of humor. He once famously quipped that he was unable to complete his review of the Starr Report detailing President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, complaining that it was "too much reading about heterosexual sex".[15] In 2004 and again in 2006, a survey of Capitol Hill staffers published in Washingtonian gave Frank the title of the "brainiest", "funniest", and "most eloquent" member of the House.[16]

A 1990 investigation by the House Ethics Committee was prompted by Steve Gobie, a male prostitute Frank befriended and housed, who attempted to profit on his allegations that Frank knew he was using the home to see clients. Frank confirmed that he had once paid Gobie for sex, hired him with personal funds as an aide and wrote letters on congressional stationery on his behalf to Virginia state probation officials, but Frank said he fired Gobie when he learned that prostitution clients were visiting his apartment.[17][18] "Two years [after Frank fired Gobie], Gobie tried unsuccessfully to sell his story to the The Washington Post. He then gave the story to the The Washington Times for nothing, in hopes of getting a book contract for the male version of Mayflower Madam."[19]

After the investigation, the Committee found no evidence that Frank had known of or been involved in the alleged illegal activity and dismissed all of Gobie's more scandalous claims; they recommended a reprimand for Frank using his congressional office to fix 33 of Gobie's parking tickets.[20][21] The House voted 408-18 to reprimand Frank.[22][23] The attempts to censure and expel Frank were led by Republican Larry Craig, whom Frank criticized for hypocrisy after Craig's own later arrest for soliciting gay sex in an airport bathroom.[24][25][26] Frank won re-election that year with 66 percent of the vote, and has won by larger margins ever since.

Political initiatives and positions

Frank in his congressional office in 2002

LGBT issues

Frank has been outspoken on many civil rights issues, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. In 1987, he publicly came out as gay.[27] He said in a 1996 interview: "I'm used to being in the minority. I'm a left-handed gay Jew. I've never felt, automatically, a member of any majority." In 1995, then-Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey famously referred to Frank as "Barney Fag" in a press interview. Armey apologized and said it was "a slip of the tongue". Frank did not accept Armey's explanation, saying "I turned to my own expert, my mother, who reports that in 59 years of marriage, no one ever introduced her as Elsie Fag."[28]

Through the 1990 Immigration Act, Frank was a major force in removing restrictions based on "sexual preference exclusion" which had been explicitly prohibited by early immigration law.[29] In 1998, Frank founded the National Stonewall Democrats, the national LGBT Democratic organization. In February 2009, Frank was one of three openly gay members of Congress, along with Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado.

Frank was accused by Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) of having a "radical homosexual agenda"; Frank responded "I do have things I would like to see adopted on behalf of LGBT people: they include the right to marry the individual of our choice; the right to serve in the military to defend our country; and the right to a job based solely on our own qualifications.[10][30] I acknowledge that this is an agenda, but I do not think that any self-respecting radical in history would have considered advocating people's rights to get married, join the army, and earn a living as a terribly inspiring revolutionary platform."[30]

Frank's stance on outing gay Republicans has been called the "Frank Rule" whereby a closeted person who uses their power, position, or notoriety to hurt LGBT people can be outed.[31] The issue became relevant during the Mark Foley scandal of 2006, during which Frank clarified his position on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher: "I think there's a right to privacy. But the right to privacy should not be a right to hypocrisy. And people who want to demonize other people shouldn't then be able to go home and close the door and do it themselves."[32]

In April 2009 Frank was named in the LGBT magazine Out's "Annual Power 50 List", landing at the top spot.[33]

Medical marijuana

Frank is author of the States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act (H.R. 2592), an attempt to stop federal government from intervening with states' medical marijuana laws.[34] As well, he has consistently voted for the bipartisan Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment, annually proposed by Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), that would prohibit the United States Department of Justice from prosecuting medical marijuana patients.[35] In March 2008, he proposed the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008 (HR 5843), which would decriminalize small amounts of the drug.[36] Frank commenting on legislation to remove federal criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use stated "In a free society a large degree of human activity is none of the government's business. We should make criminal what's going to hurt other people and other than that we should leave it to people to make their own choices."[37]

Online gambling

Frank has partnered with Ron Paul in support of online gambling rights. In 2006, both strongly opposed H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act, and H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[38][39] To restore online gambling rights, in 2007 Frank sponsored H.R. 2046, the Internet Gambling Regulation and Enforcement Act.[40] This bill would have established licensing and regulation of online gaming sites. It provided for age verification and protections for compulsive gamblers. In 2008, he and Paul introduced H.R. 5767, the Payment Systems Protection Act, a bill that sought to place a moratorium on enforcement of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act while the United States Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve defined "unlawful Internet gambling". As a result of these efforts, Frank (who does not gamble) has been praised by poker players and online gamblers, including many Republicans.[41]

Civil liberties

In 2006, Frank was one of three Representatives to oppose the Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act, which restricted protests (notably those of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church) at soldiers' funerals. He opposed the bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate, on civil liberties and constitutional grounds. Frank said of the vote, "I think it’s very likely to be found unconstitutional. It’s true that when you defend civil liberties you are typically defending people who do obnoxious things... You play into their hand when you let them provoke you into overdoing it. I don’t want these thugs to [make the] claim [that] America is hypocritical."[42]

In 1987, Frank was the Chair of the important House Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Law and Governmental Relations in the 100th Congress. In this position, he was one of the staunchest supporters of redress and reparations for Japanese American internment during World War II.[43][44]


Frank has a 100% rating from NARAL.[45] He voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act,[46] against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act[47] and against the criminalization of the transportation of minors across state lines by non-family members to circumvent local abortion laws.[48]

Military spending

As of the 111th Congress, Frank is advocating a 25 percent reduction in the overall Military budget of the United States. "The math is compelling: if we do not make reductions approximating 25 percent of the military budget starting fairly soon, it will be impossible to continue to fund an adequate level of domestic activity...," wrote Frank. He claimed that such a significant reduction would have no effect on the United States' ability to defend itself. "If," he said, "beginning one year from now, we were to cut military spending by 25 percent from its projected levels, we would still be immeasurably stronger than any combination of nations with whom we might be engaged."[49]

House Financial Services Committee

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

In 2003, while the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, Frank opposed a Bush administration proposal, in response to accounting scandals, for transferring oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to a new agency that would be created within the Treasury Department. The proposal, supported by the head of Fannie Mae, reflected the administration's belief that Congress "neither has the tools, nor the stature" for adequate oversight. Frank stated, "These two entities...are not facing any kind of financial crisis.... The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."[50] Conservative groups criticized Frank for campaign contributions totaling $42,350 between 1989 and 2008. They claim the donations from Fannie and Freddie influenced his support of their lending programs, and say that Frank did not play a strong enough role in reforming the institutions in the years leading up to the Economic crisis of 2008.[51] In 2006 a Fannie Mae representative stated in SEC filings that they "did not participate in large amounts of these non-traditional mortgages in 2004 and 2005." [52]In response to criticism from conservatives, Frank said, “In 2004, it was Bush who started to push Fannie and Freddie into subprime mortgages, because they were boasting about how they were expanding homeownership for low-income people. And I said at the time, ‘Hey—(a) this is going to jeopardize their profitability, but (b) it’s going to put people in homes they can’t afford, and they’re gonna lose them.’” [10]

In 2009 Frank responded to what he called "wholly inaccurate efforts by Republicans to blame Democrats, and [me] in particular" for the subprime mortgage crisis, which is linked to the financial crisis of 2007-2009.[53] He outlined his efforts to reform these institutions and add regulations, but met resistance from Republicans, with the main exception being a bill with Republican Mike Oxley that died because of opposition from President Bush.[53] The 2005 bill included Frank objectives, which were to impose tighter regulation of Fannie and Freddie and new funds for rental housing. Frank and Mike Oxley achieved broad bipartisan support for the bill in the Financial Services Committee, and it passed the House. But the Senate never voted on the measure, in part because President Bush was likely to veto it. “If it had passed, that would have been one of the ways we could have reined in the bowling ball going downhill called housing,” Oxley told Frank. In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, Lawrence B. Lindsey, a former economic adviser to President George W. Bush, wrote that Frank “is the only politician I know who has argued that we needed tighter rules that intentionally produce fewer homeowners and more renters.”[10] Once control shifted to the Democrats, Frank was able to help guide both the Federal Housing Reform Act (H.R. 1427) and the Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act (H.R. 3915) to passage in 2007.[53] Frank also said that the Republican-led Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act of 1999, which repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 and removed the wall between commercial and investment banks, contributed to the financial meltdown.[53] Frank further stated that "during twelve years of Republican rule no reform was adopted regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In 2007, a few months after I became the Chairman, the House passed a strong reform bill; we sought to get the [Bush] administration’s approval to include it in the economic stimulus legislation in January 2008; and finally got it passed and onto President Bush’s desk in July 2008. Moreover, "we were able to adopt it in nineteen months, and we could have done it much quicker if the [Bush] administration had cooperated."[54]

Chair of the House Financial Services Committee

Congressmen Ellison & Frank at Financial Services Field Hearing on Home Foreclosures in Minneapolis.

As chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, beginning in 2007, Frank "sits at the center of power".[13] Frank has been a critic of aspects of the Federal Reserve system, partnering with some Republicans in opposition to some policies.[55] Frank says that he and Republican Congressman Ron Paul "first bonded because we were both conspicuous nonworshipers at the Temple of the Fed and of the High Priest Alan Greenspan.”[55]

Frank has been involved in mortgage foreclosure bailout issues.[56] In 2008 Frank supported passage of the American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act, intended to protect thousands of homeowners from foreclosure.[13] This law, H.R. 3221, is considered one of the most important and complex issues on which he worked.[13][57] In an August 2007 op-ed piece in Financial Times, Frank wrote, "In the debate between those who believe in essentially unregulated markets and others who hold that reasonable regulation diminishes market excesses without inhibiting their basic function, the subprime situation unfortunately provides ammunition for the latter view."[58] Frank was also instrumental in the passage of H.R. 5244, the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act of 2008, a measure that drew praise from editorial boards and consumer advocates.[59][60][61] In 2007 Frank co-sponsored legislation to reform the Section 202 refinancing program, which is for affordable housing for the elderly, and Section 811 disabled programs.[62] Frank has been a chief advocate of the National Housing Trust Fund,[10] which was created as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and was the first affordable housing program to be enacted by the Congress since 1990.[63]

During the subprime mortgage crisis, Frank was characterized as "a key deal-maker, an unlikely bridge between his party’s left-wing base and [...] free market conservatives" in the Bush administration.[64][65] Hank Paulson, the U.S. Treasury Secretary for the Bush administration, said he enjoyed Frank’s penchant for brokering deals, "he is looking to get things done and make a difference, he focuses on areas of agreement and tries to build on those."[64]

In an interviewe quoted in the New York Times, Barney Frank acknowledged supporting the continual increase of FHA loans despite an unprecedented rise in defaults: "I don't think it's a bad thing that the bad loans occurred," he said. "It was an effort to keep prices from falling too fast. That's a policy."

Personal life

Frank started coming out as gay to friends before he ran for Congress and came out publicly in 1987, "prompted in part by increased media interest in his private life…" and the death of Stewart McKinney, "a closeted bisexual Republican representative from Connecticut"; Frank told The Washington Post after McKinney's death there was “An unfortunate debate about 'Was he or wasn't he? Didn't he or did he?' I said to myself, I don't want that to happen to me.”[66][4][67][note 1] Frank's announcement had little impact on his electoral prospects.[66] Shortly after coming out, Frank met and began dating Herb Moses, an economist and LGBT activist; their relationship lasted for eleven years until an amicable break-up in July 1998.[66][68][69] Moses, who was an executive at Fannie Mae from 1991 to 1998, was the first partner of an openly gay member of Congress to receive spousal benefits and the two were considered "Washington's most powerful and influential gay couple."[68]

Frank resides in a studio apartment complex in Newton, Massachusetts. His partner, Jim Ready, is a surfing enthusiast whom Frank met during a gay political fundraiser in Maine, where Ready still lives.[14] Frank's current net worth is estimated to be between $711,021 and $1,840,000.[70] His sister, Ann Lewis, served as a senior adviser in Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.


Frank is the subject of a biography entitled Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman, written by Stuart Weisberg. The book was released in September 2009.[71]



  1. ^ Frank, who was elected to the House in 1980, was the first gay congressional representative to come out on his own. Congressman Gerry Studds had been the only openly gay federal legislator, having survived the revelation in 1983 that he had had a relationship with a seventeen-year-old male page a decade earlier during a Congressional sex scandal.


  1. ^ Tallmer, Jerry (July 21 - 27, 2004). "Frank talk on sexuality and politics". The Villager 74 (12). Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  2. ^ Project Vote Smart: Barney Frank
  3. ^ Andryszewski, Tricia (2007). Same-Sex Marriage: Moral Wrong Or Civil Right?. Twenty-First Century Books. ISBN 0822571765. 
  4. ^ a b Kiritsy, Laura (May 31, 2007), "Happy Anniversary, Barney Frank!", EDGE, 
  5. ^ "A Way With Words". The New York Times. May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  6. ^ Out magazine's annual Power 50 Frank is number 1.
  7. ^ 60Minutes interview
  8. ^ Josh Gottheimer (2003). Ripples of Hope: Great American Civil Rights Speeches. New York: Basic Civitas Books. pp. 463. ISBN 0465027520. 
  9. ^ Cusack, Bob (2009-09-07). "Barney Frank wants Cabinet post". The Hill. Retrieved 2009-09-08. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Jeffrey Toobin. "Barney's Great Adventure: The most outspoken man in the House gets some real power". The New Yorker. 
  11. ^ Massachusetts Election Results, 1980 (PDF)
  12. ^ Clerk of the House of Representatives: 1980 election results (PDF)
  13. ^ a b c d John Gallagher, "Politics: A Broader Bully Pulpit: As Congress grapples with solutions for a faltering economy, Barney Frank sits at the center of power," The Advocate, September 9, 2008, p. 24.
  14. ^ a b Benoit Denizet-Lewis, with photographs by Henry Leutwyler (January 13-09). "Harrumph! Barney Frank is smiling. Really. (front cover, pages 56-61)". The Advocate. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  15. ^ "Frank Part of Starr Review". PlanetOut Inc.. 1998-09-09. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  16. ^ "Best and Worst of Congress", September 1, 2006. Retrieved November 29, 2006.
  17. ^ A Skeleton in Barney's Closet Margaret Carlson;Robert Ajemian/Boston and Hays Gorey/Washington September 25, 1989.
  18. ^ Bill Dedman (August 27, 1989). "TV Movie Led to Prostitute's Disclosures". The Washington Post. 
  19. ^ Margaret Carlson, Robert Ajemian, and Hays Gorey (September 25, 1989). "A Skeleton in Barney's Closet". Time.,9171,958598,00.html. 
  20. ^ Media Matters for America article, October 5, 2006, which cites The Boston Globe, 7/27/1990, as well as the Ethics Committee's report, 7/20/1990.
  21. ^ Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, Page 37 -"In numerous instances where an assertion made by Mr. Gobie (either publicly or during his Committee deposition) was investigated for accuracy, the assertion was contradicted by third-party sworn testimony or other evidence of Mr. Gobie himself."
  23. ^ "Frank reprimanded for aiding prostitute" Elaine S. Povich, Chicago Tribune Chicago, Ill.: Jul 27, 1990, p. 4.
  24. ^ "What to do about Barney Frank // Congress faces nasty confrontation on handling sexual misconduct", Rowland Evans, Robert Novak. Austin American Statesman. Austin, Tex.: Oct 17, 1989, p. A.8.
  25. ^ Outrage (2009), Kirby Dick, writer and director; Amy Ziering, producer; Douglas Blush and Matthew Clarke, editors; Chain Camera Pictures; Magnolia Pictures, distributor.
  26. ^ Beyond the Multiplex: Behind Washington's closet door Andrew O’Hehir, Salon, May 7, 2009.
  27. ^ "Representative Frank Discloses He Is Homosexual", The New York Times, May 31, 1987,, retrieved 2008-10-19 
  28. ^ Rich, Frank (February 2, 1995), "Journal; Closet Clout", The New York Times, 
  29. ^ Out4Immigration - History of LGBT & Immigration
  30. ^ a b Statement of U.S. Representative Barney Frank on the Inclusion of people who are Transgender in Antidiscrimination Protection Legislation
  31. ^ THE OUTING | David Dreier and his straight hypocrisy
  32. ^ ""Episode Guide - episode 86"". HBO. October 20, 2006. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  33. ^ Out magazine website.
  34. ^ "Frank Calls for Action on Medical Marijuana Legislation
  35. ^ The Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment (2003 - 2006)
  36. ^, "Barney Frank: Let's decriminalize marijuana"
  37. ^ CNN Newsrrom: President Bush, Dems Spar Over Energy; 5.4 Magnitude Quake Rattles Los Angeles; Attacking Obama's 'Celebrity'; Rep. Barney Frank's Marijuana Bill July 30, 2008, interview.
  38. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777
  39. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411
  40. ^ Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 2046
  41. ^ Viser, Matt (July 13, 2008), "Unlikely ace for online gambling", The Boston Globe, 
  42. ^ Anna Margolis, Anna (May 11, 2006). "Rep. Frank Votes Against "Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act"". Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ [1]
  45. ^ "Congressional Record on Choice: Barney Frank". NARAL. 
  46. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 530 (Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act)". House of Representatives. 2-Oct-2003. 
  47. ^ "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 31 (Unborn Victims of Violence Act)". House of Representatives. 26-Feb-2004. 
  48. ^ "Barney Frank on Abortion". On The Issues. 
  49. ^ Frank, Barney (2009-02-11). "Cut the Military Budget". The Nation. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  50. ^ Stephen Labaton (Published: September 11, 2003). "New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae - New York Times". Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  51. ^ Bill Sammon (October 3, 2008). " - Lawmaker Accused of Fannie Mae Conflict of Interest - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum".,2933,432501,00.html. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
  52. ^ Bill Sammon (October 10, 2008). " - Myths and falsehoods about the purported link between affordable housing initiatives and the financial crisis - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum". Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  53. ^ a b c d Frank Seeks Antidote to Republican Amnesia.
  54. ^ Congressman Frank's Letter To The Editor Replying To False Republican Accusations Concerning Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac September 23, 2008.
  55. ^ a b Caldwell, Christopher (2007-07-22). "The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  56. ^ Louise Story, "Lawmakers Debate Pitfalls of Loan Modification," New York Times, November 13, 2008, p. B3, found at NY Times website.
  57. ^ Information about the American Housing Rescue & Foreclosure Prevention Act from the House Financial Services Committee official website
  58. ^ Frank, Barney (August 20, 2007), "A (sub)prime argument for more regulation", Financial Times, 
  59. ^ "Plastic Card Tricks", The New York Times, March 29, 2008, 
  60. ^ "The Fed Aims at Credit Cards", The New York Times, May 3, 2008, 
  61. ^ Press release on the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, House Financial Services Committee,, retrieved August 22, 2008 
  62. ^
  63. ^ National Housing Trust Fund
  64. ^ a b Herszenhorn, David M. (May 13, 2008), "A Liberal Wit Builds Bridges to the G.O.P.", The New York Times, 
  65. ^ "Let's Get Frank" documentary.
  66. ^ a b c Pierce, Charles P. (October 2, 2005), "To Be Frank", Globe Magazine, 
  67. ^ Carlos Santoscoy (September 20, 2009). "Barney Frank's 'Left-Handed Gay Jew' No Tell-All". TOn Top Magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  68. ^ a b "DC's Most Influential Gay Couple Calls It Quits". The Tuscaloosa News (Associated Press). July 3, 1998.,534553&dq=washington's-most-prominent-and-influential-gay-couple-rep-barney-frank&hl=en. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  69. ^ Claudia Dreifus (February 4, 1996). "And Then There Was Frank". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  70. ^ [2]
  71. ^ "Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman". University of Massachusetts Press. Retrieved 2009-07-09. 

External links


United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Robert Drinan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 4th congressional district

January 3, 1981 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Oxley
Chairman of House Financial Services Committee


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I've seen anti-Semitism essentially disappear in my adult life as a social and economic factor. There may be some nuts out there, but generally things are fine. I think the same thing will happen with gayness. We'll get to a point soon enough where it's not even an issue anymore. But progress can be slow.

Barney Frank (born March 31, 1940) is a long-time U.S. Representative from Massachusetts, reputed for his sharp wit.


  • I'm used to being in the minority. I'm a left-handed gay Jew. I've never felt, automatically, a member of any majority.
    • Interview with Claudia Dreifus in September and October 1995, published in Times Magazine (4 February 1996)
  • These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis. The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.
  • Moderate Republicans are reverse Houdinis. They tie themselves up in knots and then tell you they can't do anything because they're tied up in knots.
  • In a free society a large degree of human activity is none of the government's business. We should make criminal what's going to hurt other people and other than that we should leave it to people to make their own choices.
  • Here's the story: There's a terrible crisis affecting the American economy. We have come together on a bill to alleviate the crisis. And because somebody hurt their feelings they decide to punish the country. I mean, I would not have imputed that degree of pettiness and hypersensitivity [...] But think about this: Somebody hurt my feelings so I will punish the country. I mean, that's hardly plausible. And there are 12 Republican members who were ready to stand up for the economic interests of America but not if anybody insulted them. I'll make an offer: Give me those 12 people's names and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they'll now think about the country.
  • There are a lot of ways to mispronounce my name. That is the least common […] I checked with my mother. In 50 years no one's ever called her "Elsie Fag".
  • I've seen anti-Semitism essentially disappear in my adult life as a social and economic factor. There may be some nuts out there, but generally things are fine. I think the same thing will happen with gayness. We'll get to a point soon enough where it's not even an issue anymore. But progress can be slow. I filed my first gay rights bills in 1972 in Massachusetts. Forty years later, it would be nice to have this wrapped up and put to bed.
  • Questioner: Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy as Obama has expressly supported this policy? Why are you supporting it?
    Frank: When you ask me that question I am gonna revert to my ethnic heritage and answer your question with a question: On what planet do you spend most of your time? [...] As you stand there with a picture of the President defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is, as I said before, it is a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma'am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table: I have no interest in doing it.
    • Response to questioner at a town-meeting in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, broadcast on CNN (18 August 2009); YouTube video.

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