Frank, Barney

Frank, Barney, 1940–, American congressman, b. Bayonne, N.J., grad. Harvard (B.A., 1962; J.D., 1977). A liberal Democrat, he began his political career as chief assistant to Boston Mayor Kevin White (1968–71) and was subsequently (1971–72) assistant to Congressman Michael Harrington. Frank was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1972, serving there until he first won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1980. In 1987 Frank publicly acknowledged his homosexuality; three years later his reputation was tarnished after it became known that a male prostitute that Frank had tried to help and hired as a personal aide had used Frank's apartment for prostitution. Known for his intelligence, sharp wit, and outspokenness, Frank, who chaired the House financial services committee (2007–11), served 16 terms before retiring in 2013. He was chief among those who crafted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010), which was passed to control practices that led to the financial crisis that began in 2007 and to manage future financial crises.

See his autobiography (2015) and his Speaking Frankly (1992); P. Bollen, ed., Frank Talk (2006); biography by S. E. Weisberg (2009); B. Everly, dir., Let's Get Frank (documentary film, 2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies