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COMMITTEE FAVORS FRANK REPRIMAND OVER DEALINGS WITH MALE PROSTITUTE

SHARE COMMITTEE FAVORS FRANK REPRIMAND OVER DEALINGS WITH MALE PROSTITUTE

The House ethics committee will recommend that Rep. Barney Frank be reprimanded for aspects of his relationship with a male prostitute, congressional sources say. But a conservative lawmaker plans a floor move to expel the Massachusetts Democrat.

All 11 committee members who attended a closed-door meeting Thursday agreed to recommend a reprimand by the full House, according to the sources, who insisted on anonymity. The 12th member, Rep. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, was in his state for a visit by President Bush.A reprimand would involve House adoption of the committee report. While expulsion is the most severe punishment, the committee also could have recommended a censure, in which a member stands before his colleagues to hear the speaker read a letter condemning his conduct.

The decision followed a 10-month investigation that was one of the most troubling in the history of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

In considering whether Frank's behavior brought discredit upon the House, the panel had to judge conduct that largely was personal between the liberal lawmaker and male prostitute Stephen L. Gobie.

Two key aspects of the case involved official actions, however, and they reportedly were central to the committee's findings.

Frank invoked congressional privilege to revoke parking tickets incurred by Gobie while using the lawmaker's car. He also wrote favorable letters on his official stationery to probation officials supervising Gobie, who was convicted of several felonies.

Frank admitted that he paid Gobie $80 for sex in 1985 and then hired him as a housekeeper and driver with personal funds in an effort to improve his life.

He said he fired Gobie in August 1987 after learning that his aide was running a prostitution ring out of the lawmaker's Capitol Hill apartment.

Frank has repeatedly denied Gobie's allegation that he was aware of the prostitution operation.