Democratic Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts announced Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2012, ending a 32-year career in the House.
Frank, the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee, will leave a political legacy most likely highlighted by the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform that he drafted with former Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) which was enacted last year. The Dodd-Frank bill clamped down on lending practices and expanded consumer protections in an effort to prevent a repeat of the 2008 economic meltdown.
The 71-year-old Congressman has also been recognized as the Nation’s most powerful openly homosexual elected official. Frank was involved in a scandal two decades ago when he used his Congressional status on behalf of a male prostitute whom he had employed as a personal aide.
“I should have known better. I do now, but it’s a little too late,” Frank said at the time, according to The Associated Press.
Frank’s retirement announcement will create a scramble among Democrats to replace the longtime Massachusetts lawmaker as the ranking member on the Financial Services Committee. Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) is technically next in line as the ranking member on that committee.