Letters to the Editor

Congressman Barney Frank Depiction Different than Reported

In ‘Glen Rock "Proud" on Lifting of LGBT Flag,’ of June 2, 2017, you wrote, that “According to widely sourced reports,” Congressman Barney Frank's career “ended amid scandals involving male prostitution and his support for relaxed housing lending practices while he had intimate ties to federal housing lending institutions, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.“  We're not sure what homophobic or right-wing sources you accessed, but no part of that statement is true.

First, it would be news to the Congressman that his career ended over something that occurred 27 years before he retired.  Frank was closeted in 1985, which was when he became involved with a male prostitute (not multiple “scandals”). When a false allegation was made that Frank had helped run a prostitution ring out of his apartment, the Congressman himself called for an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, which exonerated him of any serious allegations.  Afterwards, Frank came out of the closet and became the country’s staunchest public advocate for gay rights.

As for his “relaxed lending practices,” and “intimate ties” to Fannie & Freddie, these are long-disproved memes designed to re-direct responsibility for the financial crisis from Wall Street to the government. In fact, Frank was ranking member on the House Financial Services in 2005, when he and Chairman Mike Oxley (R-OH) achieved broad bipartisan support for a bill to rein in Fannie & Freddie, a bill which was blocked in the Republican Senate at the request of the Bush White House.  Lawrence Lindsey, economic adviser to President Bush, wrote that Frank "is the only politician I know who has argued that we needed tighter rules that intentionally produce fewer homeowners and more renters.”

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Frank did recommend his partner Herb Moses for an entry-level job at Fannie Mae in 1991, but Moses left in 1998 after he and Frank split up—10 years before the financial crisis. Even if he had not, the notion that Fannie and Freddie caused the crisis has been forcefully rebutted by the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.

At a time when honesty from the press has become a national issue, it is a shame that you, as editor of this paper, did not better acquaint yourself with the facts. It is particularly offensive to do so during Gay Pride Month, in connection with a Gay Pride event.

Michael Chandler & Sheila Canavan

Producers, “Compared to What? The Improbable Journey of Barney Frank”

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