For those who missed it during the Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP debate, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said that there may be grounds for prosecuting Barney Frank and Chris Dodd for their roles in the recent financial collapse.
The former Speaker was in part referring to their respective roles in the Dodd-Frank bill that was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. (Of course, Fannie May and Freddie Mac aren't touched in the bill.) But he was also sure to mention both Frank's relationship with Fannie Mae as well as Dodd's role in the Countrywide scandal.
Here's the clip of Gingrich's debate statement:
Since making the bold accusation, Barney Frank has fired back, reminding the former Speaker that Republicans controlled Congress from 1995 to 2006. Frank also says the GOP did nothing to check the growing financial crisis during that time.
“Chris Dodd and I were in the minority during that time, and in fact no remedial action was taken by Congress until we became chairmen of our respective committees in 2007 and 2008,” said Frank in a recent New York Times article.
"Apparently, Newt Gingrich—who considers himself one of the intellectual leaders of the free world—is so embarrassed by the fact that he is running behind Michele Bachmann in Republican polls that it has increased his already well-developed propensity to utter outlandish things," he said.
Speaking of outlandish things:
The 2008 video shows Barney Frank, at the time Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, calling for an "immediate increase in spending" and for "deficit fear . . . to take a second seat."
Or how about when, in 2005, Barney Frank was "unaware" of the looming housing bubble?
And continued to "push for home ownership" they did.
Writes Jeff Jacoby for the Boston Globe:
. . . [Barney Franks's] fingerprints are all over this fiasco. Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape . . . when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that “these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” When the White House warned of “systemic risk for our financial system” unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.
Now that the bubble has burst and the “systemic risk” is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: “The private sector got us into this mess.” Well, give the congressman points for gall. Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he’ll find one suspect in the nearest mirror.
Perhaps former Speaker Gingrich has a point and his statement isn't so "outlandish" after all.