Sunday, July 26, 2009

Buying Bayh

The Star's Dan Lee has a feature story in the Sunday edition of the paper detailing the conflicts for Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) posed by his wife, Susan Bayh, sitting on the boards of four health care-related companies, including the nation's largest health insurer, Wellpoint. Susan Bayh earned more than $2 million in a recent three-year period for her part-time gig as a board member for these companies. This paragraph states the obvious reason she has been chosen by so many public companies to serve on their boards:

Susan Bayh, who was a midlevel lawyer for the politically active Eli Lilly and Co. while her husband was governor of Indiana, did not serve on the board of a single public health-care company until it was clear her husband was about to ascend to the U.S. Senate. Only one month before Evan Bayh was elected to the Senate in a landslide vote, his wife was appointed to serve on the board of what would become the nation's largest health insurance company -- and arguably the company with the most at stake in the health-care reform debate.

Within a few years, numerous companies recruited her, and she eventually served on the boards of eight companies. At least one of them asked her to reduce the number of boards she served on, apparently because she was spread too thin to be effective.

Adding to speculation about a connection between her board memberships and her husband's office is Susan Bayh's unwillingness to discuss the matter, including for this story. She has declined several requests for comment on her corporate interests, making it difficult to tell where those interests end.
A competent Republican opponent to Bayh in next year's Senate race could send Bayh packing if he or she only used issues like this to demonstrate that Bayh has been more interested in using his position in government to parlay millions for his family than representing the people of Indiana in the Senate. Anyone who knows Susan Bayh will tell you that it is a complete joke to think of her as being a competent choice for these public companies to choose to sit on their boards. If she's not taken seriously as a businessperson by the Bayhs' closest friends, why should these public companies be putting her in such an important role? The answer is influence and everybody knows that. Sen Bayh is essentially prostituting his wife for personal financial gain. Lee's story indicates that a board member is expected to devote 20 to 30 hours of time a month. "That means Susan Bayh's current six current board seats could consume up to 180 hours a month," Lee writes. I'll give you a hint. She doesn't spend anything close to that amount of time on the work for these boards, unless you include the time she spends shopping for new clothes, getting her hair styled and primping in front of the mirror.

8 comments:

Vox Populi said...

A competent Republican with $20 Million in his or her account couldn't break 45% against Bayh.

artfuggins said...

The sad thing is that tens of thousands of republicans will switch and vote for Evan Bayh. Lots of moderate and progressive Dems are sick of his lack of committement and wishy washy style Repbubs give us a good moderate and you will see massive defections of Dems to the GOP senate candidate. It wont work with a extreme right wingnut candidate.

Indy4U2C said...

Bayh's wife gets $2 MILLION for a part-time gig as a Board Member for the largest health insurer in the country!!! That's more money than most Indiana residents will earn in their lifetime! -and it's all because she is married to a democrat U. S. Senator who will be voting on the democrat president's socialized medicine bills in the Senate...

"Corruption is as corruption does."

--The Democrat Machine

Paul K. Ogden said...

Vox, you're wrong. A well-funded candidate would be very likely to beat Bayh, especially in 2010 which history says will be a good Repbulican year. The problem is that a challenger against Bayh would never get $20 million in the first place.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Vox, if you equate winning an election to being a good public servant or elected official, obviously you partake of the kool-aid on a regular basis.
Oh...and Walter Cronkite was not liberal.

artfuggins said...

It remains to be seen if 2010 is a good year for the GOP. It is a long way off and at this time, they are doing nothing and offering nothing. They have become the party of the wingnuts and the no sayers. Voters want moderation and plans.

interestedparty said...

"I'll give you a hint. She doesn't spend anything close to that amount of time on the work for these boards, unless you include the time she spends shopping for new clothes, getting her hair styled and primping in front of the mirror."

I am not versed in legal issues, and don't remember my logic classes in college. Is this what's known as an "ad hominem" attack? And what's it called if the attackee is female? BTW I'm not Rep or Dem.

Advance Indiana said...

Ruth Holladay writes that "Susan Bayh is a big blonde phony." It looks like men and women are in agreement on this one. If the shoe fits, .......