Rep. Barney Frank will not seek reelection in 2012


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Rep. Barney Frank, one of the most influential lawmakers on financial industry issues and an outspoken critic of Wall Street, will not seek reelection next fall, ending more than three decades in Congress, a spokesman said Monday.


Frank, 71, a Massachusetts Democrat, scheduled a news conference for 1 p.m. Eastern time in Newton, Mass., to make a formal announcement and answer questions, said spokesman Harry Gural.

Frank, who in 1987 became the first member of Congress to voluntarily announce he was gay, was a major force behind the sweeping overhaul of financial regulations enacted last year when he served as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. The law, the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, is named after him and former Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)

Dodd did not seek reelection in 2010 and now heads the Motion Picture Assn. of America. Frank survived one of his toughest campaigns in 2010 amid huge Republican gains in Congress. With the GOP taking control of the House after that election, Frank was forced to give up chairmanship of the Financial Services Committee, which he headed from 2007 through 2010.

After his last reelection fight, Frank vowed to stay on in Congress to protect the financial reform legislation from Republican attacks.

[For the record, 10:48 a.m., Nov. 28: An earlier version of this post said Rep. Barney Frank was the first openly gay member of Congress. He was the first member of Congress to voluntary announce he was gay, in 1987. Former Rep. Gerry Studds (D-Mass.) was the first openly gay member of Congress. His homosexuality was revealed in 1983 after a scandal over an earlier relationship with a congressional page.]



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-- Jim Puzzanghera in Washington