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Barney Frank, co-author of Dodd-Frank Act, to retire

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Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., co-author of the Dodd-Frank Act, will not seek re-election in 2012. The top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee will made a formal announcement during a press conference Monday afternoon. Frank won his seat in Congress in 1980. Frank and former Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., led the sweeping financial regulatory bill, known as the Dodd-Frank Act, that was passed in June 2010. It charged regulators to develop nearly 400 new rules, of which only a fraction have been finalized. Of the pending new actions, many such as risk retention, development of the qualified mortgage, and the completion of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau directly change the way mortgages will be written in the future. Industry trade groups and many Republicans have been working to minimize and repeal many measures since Dodd-Frank was passed. "Rep. Frank was probably the most articulate defender of the law in the House," said Jaret Seiberg, senior policy analyst with the Washington research group at Guggenheim. "His removal from the debate should make it incrementally more likely for regulatory relief legislation to advance." Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., will be leading contender to take his spot on the committee should she win re-election next November. Her office wasn't immediately available for comment. "Waters at times is very hostile to the banks so this is a situation worth watching," Seiberg said. Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior.

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