The House resoundingly refused to expel Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., Thursday for actions stemming from his relationship with a male prostitute and moved on to consider lesser sanctions against the five-term congressman.
Rep. William Dannemeyer, R-Calif., introduced a motion to make Frank, a leading liberal voice in the House who is an admitted homosexual, only the second member expelled since the Civil War. The House turned down the expulsion resolution, which required a vote of two-thirds, 390-38.After turning down expulsion, the House moved to consider two other possible sanctions: censure or reprimand.
Dannemeyer's move elicited a strong back lash from Rep. Julian Dixon, D-Calif., chairman of the House ethics committee, which culminated 10 months of deliberations last week with a recommendation that Frank be given a formal reprimand. A reprimand is the least severe discipline requiring action by the full House.
"The issue on which the House is on trial today is simply this: Do we tolerate, do we condone a member of this body who knowingly permits a house of prostitution to be operated out of his residence here in the District of Columbia during the two and a half years that this member associated with a known prostitute. That's the issue," Dannemeyer said on the House floor.
Dannemeyer's resolution maintained that broader issues should be considered in weighing punishment, saying Frank has admitted behavior that can be viewed as violations of District of Columbia sodomy and prostitution laws. The resolution also accuses Frank of "crass hypocrisy by soliciting a male prostitute for the purpose of sodomy as the nationwide epidemic of AIDS was raging through the homosexual community."
Dixon called Dannemeyer's claims "totally incorrect" and "fictional."