WASHINGTON — Retiring Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who chaired the House Financial Services Committee when the Democrats last held control, offered a mea culpa Wednesday to the incoming chairman of the panel, Rep. Jeb Hensarling.
According to published reports, Frank took to the House floor to express regret over previous comments he had made about Hensarling.
"'I was very critical of some actions that were taken by the Republican leadership involving sponsorship of a bill,'" Frank was quoted as saying in a report by The Hill newspaper.
While it was not exactly clear what Frank was referring to, The Hill reported that Frank's apology appeared to stem from a March dispute over who should get credit for legislation modifying registration rules for community bank investors.
At the time, Frank said the provision — introduced by Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz. — resembled legislation championed by two other lawmakers, Reps. Dave Schweikert, R-Ariz., and Jim Himes, D-Conn., The Hill reported. Frank called out GOP leadership for what he called a "shameful maneuver," suggesting that Republicans were trying to shift credit for the bill to Quayle. The paper reported that Schweikert and Quayle were competing in an election primary thanks to redistricting, and Frank implicated Hensarling in the scheme. (Frank's remarks calling out Hensarling were later stricken from the record.)
On Wednesday the Democrat — and outgoing ranking member of the committee — said he was wrong to make the accusation, the paper reported.
"'I continue to be critical of what happened … but I now believe that I inaccurately imputed the complaints I had and the action to the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Hensarling, so I wish to apologize to him for having inaccurately accused him of doing something that he informs me — and I believe him — he did not do,'" he said.