WASHINGTON (HedgeWorld.com)–The ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee of the House of Representatives announced that he would not seek re-election.

Representative John J. LaFalce (D-N.Y.) has long been skeptical about financial deregulation, and in September 1999 he co-sponsored the Hedge Fund Disclosure Act, which would have required hedge funds to submit regular reports to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve. The Act died in committee.

“I am extremely grateful for the honor the citizens of Western New York have given to me and most especially for the trust they have imparted to me,” he said in a statement June 26.

New York State is undergoing a redistricting. In the next Congress, it will send 29 representatives to the lower house, rather than 31. If Rep. LaFalce had run again, he would have faced a primary battle with other prominent Democrats in the new 28th Congressional district, notably Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Mayor Bill Johnson of Rochester, and Mayor Anthony Masiello of Buffalo.

“Engaging in a contest against other talented and honorable Democrats such as these is not something I choose to do,” he said.

In recent days and weeks, Rep. LaFalce’s voice has been prominent among those who want corporate governance reform at the federal level in the wake of the scandals involving Enron, Arthur Andersen, and now WorldCom. Indeed, just the day before his decision not to seek re-election, he issued a press release in reaction to developments regarding WorldCom, reiterating some of his accustomed positions.

“No more proof should be needed that the practices seen at Enron were not an aberration.” He said, “Indeed, earnings manipulation has become a common practice among a significant minority of our largest companies. The announcement today makes the need for legislation urgent to restore the market confidence that has been squandered by greed, incompetence, fraud and weak regulation.”