Barney Frank confirms key detail in Massa saga

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) confirmed a key detail that was allegedly reported to the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) regarding allegations of Eric Massa's improper behavior.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Joe Racalto, Massa's former chief of staff, told Pelosi's director of member services that the 50-year-old ex-congressman was living in a house with several male aides and he used foul language around them.

Racalto decided to report the behavior when Massa invited to lunch a staffer in his 20s who worked for Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.). Frank issued a statement later in the day confirming most details of the incident, but said that the ex-congressman took his staffer to dinner, not lunch:

Last year, a member of my committee staff reported to a member of my personal staff, Diego Sanchez, that former Congressman Massa had taken him to dinner. Diego quickly and appropriately reported that information to Maria Giesta, my Co-Chief of Staff for administrative matters.  Although this was not an ethical violation, Maria did think it should be called to the attention of former Congressman Massa’s Chief of Staff, Joe Racalto, a former colleague. Before she could tell Joe why she was calling, Joe said that he already knew about the situation and was considering how to address it.

I am proud of my staff for immediately responding in an appropriate manner to the information.

The New York Democrat resigned on Monday amid an ethics investigation into allegations that he groped male staffers.   

Frank released the statement just after the House voted to request that the ethics committee open an investigation into Pelosi's and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's (D-Md.) handling of the situation.

Hoyer's office has said that a Massa aide informed him of the former congressman's inappropriate behavior on Feb. 8, about four months after Pelosi's office knew about the seperate but related information.

Hoyer said that he informed the aide to report the matter to the ethics committee within 48 hours or else he would do so.