U.S. Rep. Barney Frank ’77 (D-Mass.) will retire from the U.S. Congress in December after 32 years in Washington, where he earned a reputation as one of Congress’s most progressive members on civil rights, military spending and financial regulation. The Harvard Law Bulletin caught up with Frank in mid-July—not long after his marriage to Jim Ready—as he fought to cut military spending by $1.1 billion in a budget amendment he’d co-sponsored.
Bulletin: What will you miss most?
Frank: I’ll miss the chance to influence public policy in a very direct way.
What will you be doing?
I’m going to be a public policy advocate. I’ll give lectures and try to run my mouth for money. I hope to teach and have a university affiliation. I’ll also write a book or two and do TV commentary.
You are immortalized in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which brought the most significant changes to financial regulation in decades. Are you pleased with its implementation?
The Obama administration is doing its best, but the Republicans have been cutting funding, and we hadn’t anticipated it would be underfunded so badly, so that has caused a slowdown. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is moving ahead. With derivatives regulation in the law, we have two separate entities, but there was no way around that.