WASHINGTON - Rep. Matthew Rinaldo, R-N.J., announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election this fall. The lawmaker is the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee's sub-committee with direct jurisdiction over municipal securities legislation.

Rep. Rinaldo, 61, who has served in the House for 20 years, said his decision was prompted, in part, by frustration that he is unlikely to ever become chairman of the telecommunications and finance panel because the Democrats are expected to retain control of Congress for the foreseeable future.

He has actively participated in the debate over a variety of securities bills, including pending legislation to amend the Government Securities Act. The panel, chaired by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., is expected to conduct oversight hearings on disclosure and other issues in the municipal market early next year.

"Were I to become chairman of the House telecommunications and finance subcommittee, my decision would have been different," Rep. Rinaldo said. "But there is no Republican now serving in the House of Representatives who has ever chaired a committee, gaveled a hearing to order, or scheduled a bill for debate on the House floor. Unfortunately, I do not foresee any prospect of that changing in the near term."

The likely successor to Rep. Rinaldo as the panel's ranking Republican is Rep. Don Ritter, R-Pa.

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