Representative Barney Frank announced that he wouldn’t seek re-election next year. And the news wires are filling with little tributes and remembrances of his 30 year career. But there is one notable even that isn’t mentioned in most of them.
The Washington Post got to it in the 17th paragraph.
In 1989 it was discovered that Barney Frank’s boyfriend, Stephen Gobie, whom Frank had once hired as a male prostitute, was running a male-brothel out of the Congressman’s home. Frank claimed he did not know about the prostitution ring in his home, but he did use the power of his office to “fix” 33 tickets for Gobie. And he knowingly wrote a misleading letter to Gobie’s probation officer in Virginia. Frank received a “reprimand” for fixing the tickets. Gobie maintained that Frank knew about the prostitution ring operation in his home.
You would think that a juicy sex-scandal, with admitted ethical lapses, that nearly ended a politician’s career would at least merit a reference in these short summaries of his career. Surely most articles about Bill Clinton’s term mention his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Tributes to Mark Sanford’s tenure as South Carolina governor mention his affair.
Of course, the scandal was 20 years ago. Voters in Frank’s district were more forgiving than the editorialists at the time. And surely many journalists are sympathetic to Frank and to the causes he champions.
But still, this seems like a glaring omission. Barney Frank is a witty, charming, and knowledgeable legislator. He was also someone who seriously compromised himself in office.
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