Friday, June 15, 2007

Star Rates Financial Standing Of Congressional Delegation

It's a requirement of the job that keeps many people from seeking to become one of the 535 Members of Congress. That, of course, is the filing of personal financial disclosure statements. Most people, as a general rule, don't want the world to know how much money they have or don't have. It can be embarrassing. Or it can lead people to draw conclusions about you which may or may not be fair. The Star's Maureen Groppe runs down the Indiana's congressional delegation's wealth today not unlike the way you might examine a prospective business in which you were thinking of investing. A quick check of the investment scorecard reveals the following:

  • Sen. Evan Bayh (D) is the richest with assets of between $4.3 million and $15.1 million. That's quite a fete for a man who owned nothing but a used BMW and a cheap condo when he first entered public office back in the 1980s, and with the exception of a 2-year stint at one of Indy's premier law firms, has been on the public dole practically his entire adult life. He's also not been the beneficiary of inherited wealth. Is he a self-made millionnaire? There's more on this below.
  • Rep. Julia Carson (D) is the poorest member in the delegation, if the report is to be believed, with assets of $1,003 to $17,000. I thought she owned her home on Park Street in the Fall Creek neighborhood, which has to be worth more than $17,000, but maybe I'm wrong.
  • Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) is the most indebted member of the delegation with debts between $230,005 and $550,000. He also has assets of between $536,069 and $1.19 million, the largest including a vacation home worth between $500,001 and $1 million. It's kind of unusual for someone of his wealth to have so much invested in a second home. And since the Star article mentions that he earns more as a congressman than he earned in the private sector and his current pay is $165,200, one can't help but think he's pretty much living paycheck to paycheck struggling to pay two mortgages.
  • Rep. Dan Burton (R) earned more money from investment income than any other Indiana delegation member, with investment income of between $70,512 and $217,500. He also reported assets ranging from $2 million to $4.3 million and is virtually debt free with no more than $10,000 indebtedness. His largest asset is a condominium in Bonita Springs, Fla., valued at from $500,001 to $1 million, plus he has property in Florida, Kentucky, Indiana and California. Who knew Burton was such a smart investor?
  • Sen. Richard Lugar (R) earns a distinction he would probably not like us to discuss. He took more trips than any other member, 9 at a cost of over $38,000, which were all paid for by private groups.
  • Rep. Mike Pence (R) earns the award for accepting the most expensive gift. He accepted a Remington rifle from the NRA valued at $480. I might dispute that though. I think the member who accepted the most gifts would have to be Sen. Bayh. This part of Groppe's story says it all on that account: "Much of their wealth comes from Susan Bayh's service on corporate boards. She sat on eight corporate boards last year, including Emmis Broadcasting, WellPoint and four pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies. A chunk of the Bayhs' assets is in stock or stock options, and Susan Bayh last year cashed in more than $1 million in stock options in WellPoint, the Indianapolis-based insurance company. She also exercised from $500,001 to $1 million in E-Trade Bank stock options. The reports do not detail her profit on the options after her costs are subtracted."


Anonymous said...

The sniping about Susan Bayh and her board service is getting a little old.

She's a well-trained attorney. She has taught at the university level. She has worked at large corporations. She has served as a member of the Joint Commission of the States, our Candian-Midwest trade/environment/border partner. That appointment carries ambassadorial rank, I believe.

The corporate board membership is probably not an option open to most talented women, but she has taken advantage, and from what I hear, she's been anything but a wallflower on those boards.

No doubt her board service is somewhat tied to her husband's job. But to assume she's unqualified is sexist and unfair.

Those who know both well, will tell you, she's the brains of the family. Anyone who underestimates her does so at their own peril.

Still, the sniping persists. Remember the wild rumors about a house sale where she supposedly went postal? And the rumored bad manners around her state police bodyguards?

All of it fiction,for the most part.

Is this the lot of educated, talented women? If they are married to famous persons, they have to endure these kinds of slurs?

I once heard Birch Bayh say to Evan: "You followed the grand tradition of Bayh men by outmarrying yourself."

Gary R. Welsh said...

I know many people who know her personally and the extent of her professional talent. They all agree it is a big joke. If she weren't married to Evan, she wouldn't be on any of those boards.

Anonymous said...

I think article says

Lawmakers' disclosure reports include assets, income and debts in wide ranges, and lawmakers can exclude the value of their primary residence and other items.

So Carson does not need to list how much her house is worth.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thank, anon, 8:13, that may well explain it. For the average person, though, their home is their single-largest investment. It should be disclosed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Julia Carson just rents her fur coats.

Anonymous said...

"If she weren't married to Evan, she wouldn't be on any of those boards."

This is true for reasons other than currying political favor on the part of the corporations.

Wilson46201 said...

Your attempt once again to smear Congresslady Julia Carson has backfired. Primary residences dont have to be listed - this is a very well-known fact to folk concerned about political financial reports. Julia is incredibly charitable but she follows the Biblical injunction about bragging about it. She also doesnt need condos and houses here, there and everywhere. She has her little apartment she rents in DC and the old house in Indianapolis she's owned since 1972 that she bought for $6000. She has improved both the house and neighborhood since then.

The above anynymous nobody seems envious. Just be satisfied with a respectable Republican cloth coat like Pat Nixon wore in 1952...

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about Wilson, say what you will about Julia, but he's right here--Julia Carson walks the walk when it comes to a public servant living like, well, a public servant.

Evan Bayh on the other hand...

Anonymous said...

Gary, we'll have to agree to disagree on this one, regarding Susan Bayh's legal/professional abilities.

I'm going to guess that the folks you know have just a little envy. It's natural.

She's a bright woman--I've known her for over 25 years. I watched her work on the Joint Comission, and the staff and fellow commissioners, from both sides of the border, were impressed.

I also know multiple attorneys, Butler faculty, and Eli Lilly staff who worked with her. From both sides of the aisle. Nary a nasty word was spoken about her capabilities.

We might be able to agree, that without her last name, most of those doors wouldn't have been opened. But don't opine about her legal and professional abilities based on the snipey observations of those who are jealous.

Anonymous said...

For better understanding of Who Bought The Bayhs go to:
This stuff isn't real hard to figure out folks, just look at the major political contributors, industries and sectors Bayh receives his cash from. Then look at where Susan Bayh's on boards at.

You don't suppose Evan took all that $$ from the Carlyle Group because he sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee do you?

And Baker Daniels sure seem to be heavy into the influence peddling business as well. Didn't they have a scuffle with the World Bank?

I love the $$ Golden Slacks gave Evan too. I wonder what their global clients stood to gain?

Has Evan even held a real job before?

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Wilson46201 said...

Considering the massive damage done by narcotics and considering the massive amount of money sloshing around because of narcotics, any fool hollering incessantly about peashakes is covering up for dope dealers. Peashakes are a minor and peculiarly African-American enterprise but they seem to loom large in the minds of some white folk. The scourge of dope dealers is massively greater but racism always trumps sincerity with some people...

And of course, petty accusations about peashake money going to the Congresslady are libelous so the commenters must remain anonymous. And its a shame that this blog would permit such libelous remarks to remain...

Gary R. Welsh said...

It was removed as soon as it was read, Wilson.

Wilson46201 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilson46201 said...

Thank you !

Anonymous said...

Peashakes are "minor", huh?

I agree that dope dealers are a scourge on neighborhoods and need to be rooted out at all costs.

But peashakes are a scourge, too. If it's true that they're mostly African-American owned, I don't care.

Their boarded-up, gun-infested, security camera, thug guards, cash-driven, customer littering existence must be removed from neighborhoods.

Minimizing their importance, by comparing them to dope dealers, is silly.

"Murderers are horrible, but turn your head on the carjackers."

"Thieves are horrible, but let the bike thieves go cause they're not as serious."

See what a slippery slope the minimization game becomes?

Serious cash, guns and securty exist at peashakes. They violate the zoning ordinances by cramming too many people into a space too small.

For all the above reasons, regardles sof the owners' and patrons' skin color, they must go. Tolerating them is disgusting. Promoting tolerance is race-baiting.