Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank said Wednesday he is lending his campaign $200,000 of his own money “to defend against outside attacks from organizations which take advantage of loopholes in campaign finance law.”
“I will very soon be the target of a flood of right-wing attack ads by organizations that are angry about the tough financial regulation bill that I helped pass last year, by others which are angry about my outspoken advocacy for issues with which they disagree, and in some cases fueled by money raised because of the bigoted, anti-gay remarks by Rush Limbaugh and by the extreme members of the Tea Party movement,” Frank explained in a statement, noting his cash infusion will come out of personal retirement savings.
Frank is vying for a 16th term against Republican challenger Sean Bielat, a former Marine who has hit Frank for his involvement in writing financial regulatory reform legislation that was signed into law this year. The Financial Services chairman has far outraised his opponent this cycle and currently has $1.08 million in cash on hand compared with Bielat’s almost $365,000 on hand, according to the most recent Federal Election Commission reports.
No outside group has spent money against Frank in the 4th district so far, and the long-serving Democrat is still favored to win on Nov. 2. But Frank appears to be building an extra financial cushion in the event that he needs to spend heavily in the lead-up to Election Day.
Bielat’s campaign, however, suggested that Frank’s move indicates he is worried about his electoral chances and is rushing to spend more money to save his seat.
“Obviously Barney’s reading the tea leaves,” Bielat spokeswoman Lisa Barstow said.
Bielat began running his fourth television ad last weekend, and on Wednesday he touted his endorsement by Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). Sen. Scott Brown, who carried the 4th district earlier this year in Massachusetts’ Senate special election, also is backing Bielat this cycle.
Frank does not have enormous personal wealth, reporting on his annual personal financial disclosure form assets with a minimum net worth of about $500,000. The form does not show a retirement account, but if he is invested in a federal retirement account — as many Members are — he is not required to report it on his disclosure form.