Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tully On Pat Bauer

Star political columnist has a interesting column today explaining why House Democrats need to dump their long-time leader, Pat Bauer, whose service in the House dates back to the days of Richard Nixon. He talks about efforts led by caucus members Scott Pelath and Linda Lawson to oust him. They tell Tully they have the 21 votes to oust him but for some reason are unable to get those 21 members to show up for a caucus to pull the trigger. Members have succeeded in getting Bauer to share the campaign finance duties with other members, but apparently Bauer pulled a fast one and transferred the funds in the campaign account to another bank account that he controls before the other members got their hands on it, a move Bauer insists is legal according to his attorneys. He describes "occasionally bizarre scenes" such as when Bauer showed up at the Indiana Democratic Party offices earlier this month "demanding that he be allowed to peek inside offices there to see whether rival Democrats were meeting in secret."

It looks like one of the stumbling blocks to removing Bauer is disagreement within the caucus over who will succeed Bauer if he is removed. Some members want Pelath, while other members prefer Trent Van Haaften according to Tully. Bauer's situation is similar to the one Richard Lugar found himself in as he unsuccessfully sought re-election to an unprecedented seventh term. I'm not sure why these guys can figure out how to leave office gracefully. Like Lugar, Bauer's decades of service both as a legislator and school teacher, as well as his great job at Ivy Tech after he retired as a school teacher, ensure him a great pension benefit on which to retire. After 42 years of service in the House, does he really think that he has that much more to contribute during the next two years that it's worth suffering the humiliation of being shown the door by your own colleagues?

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