“That was the first time that I understood, and real well, what it means to be in the room,” she told New York Times Magazine.
Wall Street firms, feeling abandoned by Frank and other Democrats who they believed were their allies, have fought the implementation of Dodd-Frank, and Senate Republicans have vowed to block any appointment by President Obama to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Over his career, the largest donors to Frank’s campaigns have been firms and executives in the securities, real estate, insurance, legal and banking industries, totalling more than $4 million worth of donations the past two decades, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
First elected in 1980, Frank became, in 1987, the first sitting member of Congress to publicly reveal he was gay. Since then he has become the leading lawmaker for the gay rights movement, with the most recent achievement coming a year ago with the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” ban on gay service members serving openly.
In 1990, Frank was reprimanded during an inquiry into allegations involving his relationship with a male prostitute who worked out of the lawmaker’s Capitol Hill townhouse. The panel found that Frank had no knowledge of the illegal activities but disciplined him for using his office to help fix traffic tickets for his partner.
The lawmaker’s wit has made him one of the legendary sparring partners for House floor debates and a sought-after personality in the age of cable television. In February, as the House prepared to approve a bill cutting more than $60 billion from 2011 federal budgets, Frank accused his GOP colleagues of an “orgy of self congratulation” given the legislation’s pending defeat in the Senate.
“Once the Senate gives this awful product an appropriate burial, I will not be a party to its resuscitation,” he said, prompting a shouting exchange with some GOP lawmakers.
In 2009, The Hill newspaper documented Frank’s proclivity for interrupting his TV interviewers, or his fellow guests, if he felt they had slighted him in the least.
Appearing that year with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Frank said, “I’m sorry, Michele, please don’t interrupt. I know you don’t want to hear this.”
Despite the rhetorical broadsides, Frank prided himself in his ability to find room to compromise with the other side, whether it was Paulson or the Senate. In a preview of his retirement announcement Monday, Frank had grown exasperated with the increasing gridlock in this era hyper partisanship.
“Partisanship is a legitimate concept,” he wrote earlier this year for Paulson’s book, “that has been discredited by the excesses of too many of its practitioners.”