Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank announced his retirement. Liberals from the press lamented the passing of the person who single handedly prevented housing reform prior to the housing meltdown. Like the cartoon by Henry Payne, Barney Frank arrived at the housing crisis fire with a gas can. With the redraw of districts in the Bay State, Frank would have faced voters that probably would not have overlooked his past ties to Fannie & Freddie.
Barney Frank has a history for being either willfully ignorant, or intentionally blind. Let’s take a brief look at the liberal scion of affordable housing. First elected to Congress in 1980, Barney Frank has a reliable history of opposing anything that the rest of the country would consider common sense. He paid the male prostitute Steve Gobie for sex, fixed Gobie’s parking tickets, and wrote a letter on Gobie’s behalf for Gobie’s probation on sex and drug convictions. Gobie eventually ended up running a male prostitution ring out of Frank’s Washington D.C. apartment, but Frank claimed he had no knowledge of this illicit activity. Frank’s claim that he was ignorant is repeated often in his career
After his relationship with Gobie ends in spectacular tabloid fashion, Frank dates a man that works at Fannie Mae. Frank was always a strong supporter of socialized housing and receives tens of thousands in campaign contributions from Fannie and Freddie. Frank pushes for reduced restrictions on Fannie and Freddie lending during the Clinton years. This coincides with expansion of the Community Reinvestment Act. These changes were the seeds that grew into the sub prime mortgage crisis.
During the Fannie Mae accounting scandals of 2003, when President Bush tried to get more oversight Frank blocked it. All Bush proposed was transferring oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from Congress to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Frank would have none of that. In 2005 as the housing market was really heating up, the Bush administration again tried to get some meaningful reform passed. Frank again blocked the reform, famously stated, “These two entities…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.”
In 2007 he was present when his new partner of several years was busted for growing marijuana. Frank claims that he wasn’t aware of the activity, and that he wasn’t much of an outdoorsman and wouldn’t have been able to recognize the plants.
In 2009 he made the list of top 10 most corrupt congressmen.
Frank’s self proclaimed ignorance spans from Gobie’s prostitution, to his most recent love interest’s small pot cultivation, through the Fannie and Freddie meltdown. The liberal press lauds Frank as a smart, astute, and an experienced observer. If even half of the praise given to Frank is true, then he is either corrupt or willfully ignorant. Is it any wonder that congressional oversight is an oxymoron?
Update: Grammatical Corrections