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Frank will not seek re-election

Longtime U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., will hold a news conference Monday to announce his retirement. NBC's Luke Russert reports.

Massachuetts Rep. Barney Frank (D) will announce Monday that he won't seek re-election in 2012, sources told NBC News.

The longtime lawmaker from the Bay State's 4th congressional district was expected announce his retirement after 16 terms in the House at an afternoon press conference.

The ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, Frank helped author the financial regulatory reform bill that passed through Congress in 2010, when Frank served as the panel's chairman. California Rep. Maxine Waters (D) is next in line to become ranking member of the committee.

Frank has long been a lightning rod in Washington, known for his characteristically blunt commentary on any and all current events. That's made him a favorite target of conservative Republicans, most recently former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who suggested in his campaigning for president that Frank be jailed for his role in crafting policies that, Gingrich claims, led to the housing crisis.

Frank is one of only three openly gay members of Congress.

A source close to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation tells NBC News that they believe Frank's decision is due to the Congressman simply being tired and ready for a less hectic schedule.

***UPDATE*** More from NBC's Luke Russert: The source speculated that Frank realized that winning the House back in 2012 would be a big lift for Dems, that the earliest he could again be Chairman of the House Financial Services Comt would be Jan of 2015. Frank  would then be 75 years old. The source also speculated that Frank's longtime boyfriend Jim Ready was tired of being a political spouse.

In 2010, Ready got into a shouting match on an airplane with a fellow passenger about Frank. The story got a ton of blog pick-up. During Frank's last election, Ready was caught on video heckling Frank's opponent Sean Bielat after a campaign rally.

Frank ended up winning comfortably against Bielat 54%-43%.

Frank was also redistricted, however since MA is such a Democratic state, his district remained largely safe.