Tags: barney | frank | hud | book

Biographer: Barney Frank Wants HUD Sec. Spot

Wednesday, 09 Sep 2009 02:22 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is eyeing the secretary of Housing and Urban Development cabinet post from President Barack Obama as a reward for his nearly 30 years in Congress, and his efforts in getting the federal government “back in the housing business.”

According to a biography to be released later this month, author Stuart Weisberg wrote that the Democratic congressman from Massachusetts said he would need “at least two years” with Obama and a Democratic Senate “to get the job done,” according to a report from The Hill.

The book, “Barney Frank: The Story of America’s Only Left-handed, Gay, Jewish Congressman,” goes on to state that Frank doesn’t want to give up his powerful position as committee chairman until congress passes more affordable housing legislation.

In an interview with Politics Daily, Weisberg said Frank told him during the 30-hour interview for the book that Frank said he didn't want to spend the rest of his life “negotiating T-bill rates" and therefore favored being secretary of HUD over the more glamorous post at the Treasury Department.

Other revelations from the 501-page book in which Weisberg, a former aide to Frank who interviewed more than 150 people who know the congressman, include:

  • Frank’s recollections of a “sometimes tortured childhood” growing up gay in New Jersey.

  • Frank’s dating of women throughout high school and college despite knowing he was gay at age 13.

  • Frank’s struggle with the decision to reveal his sexuality after establishing a foothold in Congress.

  • Frank's political battles with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and a Republican-controlled Congress.

  • Frank’s battles with then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis (D) and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

  • Frank’s recollection of the notorious ethics scandal that revealed he paid a male prostitute for sex.

  • Frank's ongoing battle with weight, and his admission to having “an insatiable appetite.”

  • Frank’s friendships with the late Rep. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., and his admiration of Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.

    Included in the book are admissions by Frank that the 2008 financial bailout bill gave the Treasury Department too much say in how the funds should be spent. Despite all its flaws, however, Frank insists passing of the bill was absolutely necessary.

    If Frank were to achieve his goal and ultimately be appointed secretary of HUD by Obama, he would be the first openly gay man or woman to hold a cabinet position.

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