Frank blames Republicans for delays in implementing Dodd-Frank reforms

Former Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank (D) took to the pages of the Financial Times on Wednesday to promise that the project of financial reform would soon be finished — and to blame Republicans for the delay.

In an opinion piece, Frank defended the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, named for him and former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (D), while admitting "much necessary regulation is still not on the books" nearly three years after the bill's passage.

ADVERTISEMENT
Frank blamed Republican control of the House of Representatives for underfunding the twin financial regulatory bodies, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), as well as the Senate Republican minority for filibustering presidential appointments to the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. The court has the authority to strike down SEC and CFTC rules, which Frank claims it sometimes does "because the conservative judges think the agencies have given too little deference to the financial industry’s arguments."

Because of Republican obstruction, the rules "will be completed in time to prevent the type of crises that they are intended to prevent, but later than they should be," Frank wrote.

He also responded to criticism that the financial law leaves too much authority to regulators. "Trying to be prescriptive would have required setting rules in concrete that we should allow to evolve with experience," he said. "Specificity without discretion would have been an invitation to evasion."

The former congressman predicted that the reelection of President Obama will convince financial business interests to work with the regulators, rather than against them.

He also noted a "growing bipartisan interest" in reforming derivative oversight, currently the responsibility of both the SEC and the CFTC.

Frank is the former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and left Congress after three decades at the end of the 2012 term.