Barney Frank

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
Barney Frank currently serves the 4th Congressional district of Massachusetts

This article is part of the Real Economy Project. Take action at

Barney Frank has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the 4th District of Massachusetts, since 1981 (map). He is a Democrat, and is chair of the House Committee on Financial Services. Frank is the most prominent openly gay politician in the United States.

Record and controversies

2008 Financial Crisis

In 2003, Frank said, "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."[1]

In 2004, Frank said at a hill hearing that a Office of the Federal Housing Enterprise Oversite (OFHEO) report of illegal activity by Fannie Mae does not "raise safety and soundness [of Fannie Mae investments] problems at issue".[2]

House Financial Services Committee

When the Democrats came into power in the House in the 110th Congress, Frank assumed the chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee. In one of his first speeches since the announcement of the chairmanship, Frank discussed executive pay, shareholder rights, and the budget in the context of Iraq and Katrina. Frank called the slow rebuilding of New Orleans "ethnic cleansing through inaction." [1]

HUD Secretary

On May 9, 2006, Frank called for an investigation into comments made by Alphonso Jackson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in which he implied that he cancelled a contract because the recipient expressed a negative opinion about President George W. Bush. [2] {

Main article: Alphonso Jackson

Iraq War

Barney Frank has opposed the Iraq War from the beginning and has consistently voted against funding it. Frank voted against the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[3]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Support for gun control

Frank cosponsored H.R. 1022 (Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2007) on March 7, 2007.[4]

Main article: U.S. gun legislation

Repealing the internet gambling ban of 2006

As the chairman of the Financial Services Committee, Rep. Frank will be introducing a bill to Repeal the 2006 ban on internet gambling. The increase in tax revenue would be slated for domestic policy expenditure such as "healthcare, or other domestic legislation Democrats want to move this year."[5]

Main article: Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

Steve Gobie

In 1990, the House voted to reprimand Frank when it was revealed that Steve Gobie, a household employee he had hired in 1985, was running a prostitution business from Frank's apartment. Frank had dismissed Gobie earlier that year after learning of Gobie's activities.[3]

The Boston Globe, among others, called on Frank to resign, but he refused. The House Ethics Committee recommended Frank be reprimanded because he "reflected discredit upon the House" by using his congressional office to fix 33 of Gobie's parking tickets. Attempts to expel or censure Frank failed; instead the House voted 408-18 to reprimand him. [4]

Politics and Frank's sexuality

During an anti-gay GOP campaign, Frank threatened to out a number of gay-baiting Republican fellow congressmen. He stated that it is unacceptable to out a closeted gay person, unless that person uses their power or notoriety to hurt gay people [5]. Many members of the LGBT community adhere to this rule in their own relationships with prominent individuals.[6]

In 1995, Majority leader Dick Armey made a stir when he referred to Frank as "Barney Fag" in a press interview. Armey apologized and claimed it was a slip of the tongue. Frank later summarized the incident, saying "I think Dick Armey was a much better rank-and-file member than majority leader," Frank said. "When he was rank-and-file, he was quite thoughtful. ... Once he became majority leader he abandoned a lot of that and became a right-wing apparatchik." [6]

Originator of letter to release convicted spy Pollard

Barney Frank is instigator of a letter addressed to president Obama seeking a presidential pardon for Jonathan Pollard on the grounds that he has served enough time.[7] A release of Pollard seems to be Netanyahu's latest demand of the Obama administration.[citation needed]



Frank was born March 31, 1940 in Bayonne, New Jersey. He was educated at Harvard College, graduating in 1962. He taught undergraduates at Harvard while studying for a Ph.D, but left in 1968, before completing that degree, to become the Chief Assistant to Mayor Kevin White of Boston, a position he held for three years. He then served for one year as Administrative Assistant to Congressman Michael J. Harrington.

In 1972, Frank was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature, where he served for eight years. During that time, he entered Harvard Law School and graduated in 1977.

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.

Congressional Career

In 1979 Frank became a member of the Massachusetts Bar, before being elected to Congress in 1980. He was elected to fill the seat of Robert Drinan, who had been ordered to leave politics by Pope John Paul II. In 1982, redistricting forced him to run against Republican Margaret Heckler. An underdog, he focused on Heckler's support for President Reagan—and won by 20 percentage points. Since then, he has been re-elected consistently and easily.

Frank is a prominent figure in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, and has been outspoken on many human rights issues, as well as on issues of gay and lesbian rights. In 1987 he spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time. 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."[7]

He has been a strong supporter of Israel and supports the "ultimate goal of two states in the area." [8]

2006 elections

No major candidates announced their intentions to contest Frank’s seat in the November 2006 election. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [9]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00000275&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Barney Frank
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Barney Frank. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
2252 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-2104
Phone: 202-225-5931
Fax: 202-225-0182
Web Email

District Office- New Bedford:
558 Pleasant Street
Room 309
New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: 508-999-6462
Fax: 508-999-6468

District Office- Newton:
29 Crafts Street
Newton, MA 02458
Phone: 617-332-3920
Fax: 617-332-2822

District Office- Taunton:
The Jones Building
29 Broadway, Suite 310
Taunton, MA 02780
Phone: 508-822-4796
Fax: 508-822-8186

Articles and Resources


  1. Stephen Labaton, "New Agency Proposed to Oversee Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae ," The New York Times, September 11, 2003
  2. Video of hearings," CSPAN via YouTube.
  3. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  4. Thomas page on H.R. 1022
  5. "Frank bill would repeal ’06 Internet gaming crackdown", The Hill, April 26, 2007.
  6. Johansson, Warren & Percy, William A. "Outing: Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence." Harrington Park Press, 1994. pp. 106, 139, 143, 154, 157, 188-9, 228, 231, 235, 291
  7. Philip Giraldi, Thirty-Nine Congressmen Can't Be Wrong,, 1 December 2010.


Articles by Barney Frank


Local blogs and discussion sites

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: House Committee on Financial Services
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 4, 1980
First Took Current Office:
January 5, 1981
Next Election:
November 2, 2010
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Massachusetts House of Representatives
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 558 Pleasant Street, Room 309, New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: 508-999-6462 / Fax: 508-999-6468
2. 29 Crafts Street, Newton, MA 02458
Phone: 617-332-3920 / Fax: 617-332-2822
3. The Jones Building, 29 Broadway, Suite 310, Taunton, MA 02780
Phone: 508-822-4796 / Fax: 508-822-8186

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: March 31, 1940