WASHINGTON — After 12 years as one of the Senate Banking Committee's most articulate, and independent, members, Sen. Chuck Hagel is retiring.

The Republican from Nebraska clashed frequently with the Bush administration and other members of his own party over issues ranging from the Iraq war to reform of the government-sponsored enterprises. He was an early and vocal proponent for reining in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, openly worried about the unregulated nature of hedge funds, and supported efforts to create a federal insurance charter.

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