Congressman Barney Frank today released the attached letter to former RNC Chairman Michael Steele concerning comments Steele made last Friday on the MSNBC program, Politics Nation with Al Sharpton.
In an earlier segment in the program...Frank was asked to comment on the revelation that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has received over $1.6 million in consulting fees from Freddie Mac. In the past, Gingrich has claimed that Barney Frank and other Democrats were responsible for lack of regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. During the segment, Frank points out that Republicans held the majority in the House from 1995 until 2006, and that they held the House, Senate and White House for almost the entire period between 2001 and 2006. For this reason alone, the claim that Democrats blocked Republican intentions to regulate Fannie and Freddie are nonsensical.
In the following segment, Michael Steele attempted to defend the Republicans' record by claiming that it was actually the Democrats who controlled the House from 1996 until 2002 -- a claim which is factually incorrect.
I listened to Barney Frank and he seems to have forgotten that in 1996 Republicans lost control of the House, and Democrats were in control, until 2002. I understand the lapse of memory when it comes to making a point, but you can't sandwich away or put aside that both parties have had their fingers all over this, you know, health care issue and the Freddie-Fannie issue. And now everyone is trying to sort it out and a lot of people will find themselves getting caught here. Not to excuse it, but that's part of the political reality, particularly when you go into the private sector.
In his letter to Steele, Frank calls on the former RNC Chairman to correct his misstatement.