[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/21/art.frank1.gi.jpg caption="Why did Frank tone down the tough talk?"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - When those automakers flew to congress in corporate jets to ask for a taxpayer bailout, no one was more upset than the powerful chairman of the house financial services committee, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts.
So irate over the use of corporate jets, Frank was determined to make sure it never happened again. His plan: no corporate executives coming to Washington asking for bailout money would be allowed to travel in those multi-million dollar symbols of excess.
To make sure corporate America got the message, Mr. Frank dropped a provision into the latest bailout bill, H.R. 384, the TARP Reform and Accountability Act, requiring would-be recipients of taxpayer funds to dump their corporate fleets. The message: If you want taxpayer money, sell your jet and fly commercial.
That sure sounded tough. And it sure sent a message to the automakers. When they came back to Washington, they drove.
But last week, Rep. Frank quietly stripped the no-jet provision from the bill. Why?