Frank Says He’ll Apologize to His Colleagues
Rep. Barney Frank, facing a potential congressional reprimand, said Friday that he accepts the handling of his case by the House Ethics Committee and intends to “apologize to my colleagues” when his case comes before the full House.
The Massachusetts Democrat commented at a press conference in West Newton, Mass., shortly after the Ethics Committee formally accused him of making “misleading statements” and misusing his congressional privileges to fix parking tickets for a male prostitute with whom he had had a two-year relationship.
The committee released its findings Friday, a day after sources had revealed that the reprimand recommendation was forthcoming.
Announcing the results of a 10-month inquiry whose recommendations were expected to be challenged by some conservative Republicans, the panel, chaired by Rep. Julian C. Dixon (D-Los Angeles), said it would ask the House of Representatives to formally reprimand Frank for “improper conduct” relating to his relationship with the prostitute, Stephen L. Gobie.
However, the committee also cleared Frank of two more serious charges, ruling there was “no credible evidence” that he knew that Gobie was running a prostitution ring out of his home, or that he sought to intimidate the officials responsible for administering Gobie’s probation in connection with his conviction for an earlier sex offense.
The committee also found there was no evidence to support Gobie’s allegation that Frank had homosexual relations with him in the House gymnasium.
“Notwithstanding several publicized assertions, the weight of the evidence does not indicate that Rep. Frank had either prior or concomitant knowledge of prostitution activities alleged to have taken place in his apartment,” Dixon said.
But in a unanimous 12-0 ruling, the committee of six Democrats and six Republicans found that Frank, an admitted homosexual, “acted improperly” by using his influence to set aside 33 parking tickets accumulated by Gobie while the prostitute was using the congressman’s car for personal business.
It said also that an April, 1986, memorandum Frank wrote, but did not directly transmit, to a Virginia prosecutor contained “misleading statements” about Gobie and his relationship to him.
The memo, which was later forwarded to the prosecutor through a “series of contacts” that Frank initiated, could have been “perceived as an attempt to use political influence to affect the administration of Mr. Gobie’s probation,” the committee report said.
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