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BREAKING: Barney Frank to Retire After 2012

He'll make it official later today:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) will not run for re-election for a 17th term. He'll hold a press conference at 1 pm ET to discuss his decision.


More to come...UPDATES:

(1) With Frank out, the Democrat next in line to become the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee is Rep. Maxine Waters of California.  In other words, another ethically pristine, meek personality.

(2) With Frank out, both authors of the controversial 2010 Wall Street "reform" bill (which enshrined "too big to fail" and left Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac unscathed) will be out of Congress -- each with an ethical cloud hanging over his head.

(3) With Frank out, a scramble is already underway to replace him.  Several Democrats are moving to run in Franks recently re-drawn district, and Republican Elizabeth Childs had already announced plans to challenge Frank in 2012.  Massachusetts lost one Congressional seat in reapportionment; two sitting members from the state's 100 percent Democratic House delegation have now announced they won't return in 2013.

(4) Regardless of one's feelings about the man himself and his politics, Barney Frank was a trailblazer: He was the first openly gay member of Congress.  As it happens, several of his boyfriends and partners ended up causing him significant political headaches.  Here's just one example:

In a third blockbuster scandal, Massachusetts Democratic Rep. Barney Frank admitted a lengthy relationship with a male hooker who ran a bisexual prostitution service out of Frank's apartment. The story was broken by the conservative Washington Times newspaper, which trumpeted every juicy morsel with front-page hype. Though Frank was apparently ignorant of some of the prostitute's activities, his indiscretion was so great that his standing in Congress was greatly damaged and a House reprimand passed overwhelmingly in July 1990.


Unfazed, Frank's constituents went on to re-elect him eleven times.

(5) Finally, a Frank classic -- which drives home the perversion of his role in co-authoring the legislation that would ostensibly prevent future financial meltdowns:

Phil Klein reminds us that Fannie and Freddie were generous benefactors of Frank's sundry Congressional campaigns.  Add that gravy train to his other massive conflict of interest, and it's not difficult to piece together why Rep. Frank was such a fervid defender of the two GSE's.

UPDATE - Video added:

This is just the announcement itself.  The Q & A went far afield, allowing Frank to take characteristically graceless pot-shots at people he doesn't like -- especially the leading GOP presidential candidates.

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