WASHINGTON Former Rep. Barney Frank may have retired from office, but he will continue to watch over the House Financial Services Committee for years to come.
The Massachusetts Democrat, who served as chairman of the banking panel from 2007 to 2011, was presented Tuesday evening with an official portrait that will hang in the Rayburn hearing room.
The unveiling of the painting was a star-studded event at least by banking industry standards.
Guests included former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and Timothy Geithner, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Gary Gensler and Comptroller of the Currency Thomas Curry, along with dozens of staffers and lawmakers who worked with Frank over the course of his 32-year career. Attendees milled around and greeted each other, sipping champagne before formal remarks began giving the event the air of a high school reunion.
Frank was introduced by several colleagues, including House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., former Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the banking panel, and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, the committee's current chairman.
"As the most formidable Democrat that this Republican has ever met and debated, I kind of like the idea that in this hearing room after today, Barney will be seen, but he cannot be heard," Hensarling joked, before going on to praise Frank's intelligence and dedication to his work.
Finally, it was time for the big reveal. Unlike staid pictures of his predecessors, Frank's portrait is full of personality, just like the congressman himself. He sits behind a desk stacked high with crumpled newspapers and books, gesturing back out to the viewer with his hand, eyebrows raised. There are two flags draped in the background of the painting: the United States flag and a rainbow flag, signifying his tireless work on gay rights issues.