Barney Frank says “nothing improper” happened between staffer and Massa

Jon Ward Contributor
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Rep. Barney Frank, the openly gay Democrat from Massachusetts who endured his own sex scandal two decades ago, said nothing inappropriate occurred between one of his staffers and former Rep. Eric Massa.

“I just asked him about it today,” Frank said of the staffer, who works for the House Financial Services Committee, which Frank chairs.

“He said nothing improper happened. But he did mention it to another staffer, an older staffer who said, ‘Well, this could raise a concern,'” Frank said.

Frank’s chief of staff called Racolto and said, ‘I don’t know if this is a big deal but your boss had dinner with so and so, and he said, ‘Yeah I knew that, thank you.’”

“He invited the guy to dinner. Whether or not it was part of a pattern is the question,” Frank said. “It’s not Mark Foley. He wasn’t sending a sexually suggestive thing to an underage page.”

“And I asked the guy, and he said, ‘No, we had dinner.’ As an isolated incident, no it wasn’t a problem. Whether it was part of a pattern I don’t know.”

It emerged Wednesday that Massa’s chief of staff, Joe Racolto, a former staffer of Frank’s, first informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office of concerns about Massa’s behavior in October after learning that the New York Democrat had taken one of Frank’s staffers out to dinner.

This was the latest incident in a pattern of Massa seeking out young, single gay men, the Washington Post reported, and Racolto called Pelosi’s office to inform them that he was living with a number of young male staffers in a rowhouse, and was using sexually explicit language around a number of them.