Rep. Barney Frank says there was no conflict of interest in him helping his former lover secure a job with Fannie Mae 20 years ago while he was on the committee charged with overseeing the lending giant.
"It is a common thing in Washington for members of Congress to have spouses work for the federal government," Frank told the Boston Herald Wednesday night. "There is no rule against it at all."
Frank explained to the newspaper that he helped his ex-companion, Herb Moses, get a job at Fannie Mae in 1991 when one of its executives approached him about Moses, who had graduated with a master's degree in business administration from Dartmouth College and had applied for a job at the mortgage company.
Frank, who was a junior member of the House Financial Services Committee at the time, said he told the executive that he thought Moses would be "great" for the "entry-level position."
When asked if he should have revealed his efforts to help Moses, Frank told the newspaper, "It was widely known. It was out there in the public. It's nonsense."
But Republicans have a different view.
"Just when you think you've heard the worst, Democrats in Massachusetts take shameless politics to a new low," said Tory Mazzola, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "The fact that Barney Frank didn't see this as a conflict of interest is alarming by itself, but it's so deceitful that it really shows voters that he's not looking out for them in Washington."