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Barney Frank signs with WME

But the retiring congressman says he won't host a TV show

As Democratic congressman Barney Frank transitions into retirement, he’s joining a small group of pols who have enlisted WME to represent him across all platforms.

Just don’t ask the veteran Mass-achusetts representative to host a TV show.

“I hope to write a book. It depends on how sentient I remain as I get older,” Frank told Variety. “And give lectures and do media commentary and teach some … I plan to essentially run my mouth for money.”

WME doesn’t have a specific division to handle political clients (Frank will be repped by a team). Other agency clients include minority speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Al Franken and former govern-or Ed Rendell, the last of whom serves as an MSNBC contributor.

Both current and former politicians often turn to agencies to arrange television gigs, public-speaking engagements, book deals and other lucrative media and communication agreements. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for example, signed with the William Morris Agency in 2009 in a move the tenpercentery dubbed as a “reinvention and evolution” of her career; she’s published three books since.

“Former members of Congress and former secretaries of state don’t have organizations around them to field these offers (and) try to create opportunities and assess them. The agencies are perfectly positioned,” said Lindsay Conner, a partner at Manatt Phelps & Phillips who represents many of the clients hiring pols.

Speaking engagements alone can often be very lucrative: Bill Clinton has earned more than $75 million from such appearances since leaving office in 2001, according to a CNN analysis. Current and former pols can often earn between $100,000 and $200,000 per speaking engagement, not to mention lucrative deals to host network shows.

Frank, known for his candor and distinction as arguably the most prominent openly gay politician, has served 16 terms in Congress. He’s championed gay rights on both the policy and personal level.

Frank told Variety that those experiences will help inform the books he hopes to write: one about advocacy and the other about gay rights issues in the U.S. Frank said he also hopes to do TV work, although no discussions have yet begun due to conflict-of-interest issues. Frank’s retirement takes effect at the end of the year.

But the congressman has made one definite decision: “I’ve been working very hard for 45 years, and I would not take on the daily responsibility of a show,” Frank said, in part because he and his husband plan to split their time between Maine and greater Boston.

But the congressman says he’s open to many forms of entertainment, including film. “I don’t have a very high bar where dignity is concerned,” joked Frank, who laughingly pointed out that he is related by marriage to Shemp Horwitz, one of the Three Stooges.

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