October 31, 2016

Bayh’s Senate Schedule Shows He Sold Influence To Donors And Lobbyists

The latest release of Evan Bayh’s Senate schedules shows once again that he was a Senator in the pocket of special interests. Today, CNN has an explosive, new report on Bayh’s 2009 internal Senate schedule that shows he gave extraordinary access to donors and lobbyists in ways that could be violations of the law:

“The schedule provides a rare account of how Bayh privately engaged with fundraisers, lobbyists and donors who had a keen interest on the issues dominating Capitol Hill. At times, his own campaign fundraiser was sitting in on his meetings with donors in his official Senate office, the schedule says, raising potential conflict-of-interest concerns.”

Bayh could face legal problems because the Campaign Legal Center believes this report shows that Bayh was “selling influence”:

“‘At a minimum, the meetings raise questions about buying access, and they raise questions about selling influence,’ said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, a group that calls for stricter campaign finance rules.”

Specifically, Bayh sold access to health insurance, pharmaceutical donors, and medical device industry who wanted to influence Obamacare:

“In his office in the Senate Russell Building in 2009, Bayh repeatedly met with donors for the health insurance and pharmaceutical sectors who were trying to shape the health care bill that was steamrolling through Congress at the time, according to the schedule. He met with donors of the medical device industry just as he was championing a reduction in the tax on that sector. Those meetings at times occurred shortly after the donor held a fundraiser for the senator or contributed to Bayh’s campaign account.”

Significantly, the fact that Bayh held these meetings in the Senate Russell Building means that he could have violated Senate ethics rules on fundraising on the Capitol grounds too. This new CNN report shows that Bayh sullied the honor of the Senate by giving special treatment to campaign donors. While influential donors had direct access to Bayh, how many hard-working Hoosiers could say the same? Indiana deserves better than a Senator completely captured by special interests.