WASHINGTON — Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., will announce today that he will not seek re-election next year, capping a 32-year career in Congress, a spokesman said Monday.

"He will not run in 2012," said Harry Gural, Frank's spokesman.

Frank, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, plans to hold a 1 p.m. press conference in Massachusetts to answer questions about his decision.

First elected to Congress in 1980, Frank has risen to national fame for his role as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee during the financial crisis, and the ensuing regulatory reform legislation that bears his name.

Although only chairman from 2006 to 2010, Frank oversaw the panel during a critical time in the industry's history. Together with then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Frank helped craft and pass the legislation that created the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Although much maligned for bailing out the largest institutions, most analysts agree Tarp helped to save the financial system.

But Frank will forever be tied with the regulatory reform legislation he helped to pass in 2010, what is now known as the Dodd-Frank Act. The law made a series of changes to the system, including creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, charging a council of regulators with detecting and heading off systemic risk, and instituting regulations designed to avoid a repeat of the housing crisis.

But his impact on Congress was bigger than any one piece of legislation.

Known for his acerbic wit and pugnacious style, Frank has an outsized presence on Capitol Hill. In 2009, Frank was the subject of a biography titled Barney Frank: The Story of America's Only Left-Handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman.

-- This article first appeared on American Banker.



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