Saturday, January 09, 2016

Sun-Times: How Bayh And Other Former Lawmakers Skirt Lobbying Ban

When former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (D) left office, he was subject to a 2-year ban on lobbying his former colleagues, but like other former members of Congress, Bayh simply skirted the lobbying ban by declaring himself a "consultant" rather than a lobbyist. Bayh would have Hoosiers believe major Indiana companies hired his law firm and paid millions in lobbying fees as he publicly advocated for his client's positions on legislative matters without lobbying on their behalf. Naturally, we have to look to an out-of-state newspaper to learn anything negative about our former senator. The Chicago Sun-Times provides the details:
Within a month of leaving office, the McGuireWoods law firm, which is registered to lobby, brought on Bayh, an attorney, as a partner. In the Senate, Bayh was active on health care issues. After he joined McGuireWoods, it picked up clients in the health and medical devices industries, records show.
While still subject to the two-year lobbying ban, Bayh wrote an opinion piece published in the Sept. 27, 2012 Wall Street Journal, urging Congress to repeal a 2.3-percent tax on medical devices passed to help fund Obamacare. He argued the tax “threatens thousands of American jobs and our global competitiveness.” He also wrote that the tax killed expansion plans at Cook Medical of Indiana, a McGuireWoods client, and would have a job-killing impact on Hill-Rom, another Indiana firm that became a client of McGuireWoods the next year.
Records show Cook has paid McGuireWoods $1.49 million in lobbying fees while Hill-Rom paid $375,000.
Neither Cook nor Hill-Rom responded to requests for comment.
Bayh declined to be interviewed but Robert Lewis, a spokesman for McGuireWoods, said in a written statement: “Former Sen. Evan Bayh counsels clients on various issues. However, he does not lobby. He carefully and faithfully complies with all applicable rules and regulations, both in letter and in spirit.”
This is actually the least of Bayh's transgressions. The man became a multi-millionaire whoring his wife out to corporations which sought to influence his votes as a lawmaker as a paid board member with generous stock option benefits. It's called honest services fraud to be exact. Other politicians have been prosecuted for lesser transgressions. Just ask former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife.

UPDATE: This story and real estate developer Michael Browning writing a $30,000 check to underwrite Mayor Joe Hogsett's inaugural ball last night reminded me to go back and check Dick Cady's book, "Deadline,: Indianapolis." I recalled Cady discussing in the book the corrupt relationship Browning had with Evan Bayh while he was governor. Cady's ruminations about Browning really puts a lot of things in perspective.

Cady began with a tip he had received about Bayh taking a trip to Florida with Browning where Browning had an exclusive private club membership. Bayh claimed he paid his own expenses when Cady checked into it, including $300 in green fees he reimbursed Browning through a personal check. When Cady was looking into the matter, Bayh's press spokesman, Fred Nation, accused him of getting the story from a disaffected former partner of Browning's, which Cady denied. Cady said he got the tip from a State House lobbyist.

Looking closer at Browning, he discovered he was a close friend of then-Conseco CEO Steve Hilbert and served as a member of its board of directors. A state employee tipped off Cady to the fact that the governor's office had pressured the Public Employees Retirement Fund and the Indiana Teachers Retirement Fund to provide it a share of its investments. PERF would award Conseco $40 million to invest, a process which seem to coincide with Bayh's trip to Florida with Browning. PERF evaluated Conseco's investment proposal just four days after Bayh returned from the Florida trip according to Cady. It seems Bayh had even set up a task force to review PERF investments that included one of Conseco's top executives, Walter Kirkbride.

Despite being a Conseco director, Browning was able to borrow $9 million for his downtown development ventures from the company, one of which involved the Pan Am Plaza Building, which housed the Indiana Sports Corporation, the nonprofit he played a key role in establishing to promote sports-related projects in Indianapolis. The newly-established Hoosier Lottery had recently rented space for its headquarters in the Pan Am Plaza. Cady learned from its first director, Jack Crawford, that he had been strongly encouraged by the governor's office to rent space in Browning's building. Bayh's chief of staff, Bill Moreau, would later tell Cady that Crawford was lying.

Browning had really set out to endear himself to Evan and Susan Bayh. He played a key role in raising money to renovate the governor's residence to make it suitable for the living tastes of Susan. According to one of Browning's former partners, Jim Conn, Browning bragged about his close relationship to the couple. Conn claimed Browning had flown Susan to Chicago on his private plane on multiple occasions for shopping trips.

Cady learned that buildings Browning owned, including one he co-owned with Steve Hilbert, were doing very well scoring leases with state agencies controlled by Bayh. When Cady tried to interview Hilbert about the relationships, he got a lecture from him on "negative" reporting and what a great job Bayh was doing as governor. When Cady talked to Browning, he denied getting any special favors from Bayh, although he admitted he had mentioned a lease on at least one state building during a conversation with him. Browning suggested that Hilbert was the guy doing all the talking to the governor. Cady was irritated when he learned that Ann DeLaney, who worked as a top aide to Bayh, had called both men before he interviewed them. When he later confronted her about it, she ranted to him about falsely accusing people of improprieties.

Cady's stories about Browning's relationship with Bayh eventually ran in The Star. Browning would contact its editors to complain about them, although he did not factually dispute any of the information contained in them according to Cady. "The FBI now did virtually nothing on political corruption, and the county prosecutor used to work for Bayh," Cady lamented in his book. A few weeks after his stories ran, he got an unusual call from a former Conseco employee. "I like Evan Bayh, but I was wondering if he was being truthful," the man said. "I remember Walter Kirkbride talking about that trip to Florida. He told me he took the governor and his wife on his yacht. The reason I remember it is, the yacht got stuck on a sandbar and they had to have the Coast Guard help them get off." Bayh's spokesman, Fred Nation, later fessed up to the yacht outing, although he insisted nothing was discussed about state business.

And then there was the rigged riverboat gaming license down at Lawrenceburg that made Hilbert and a bunch of other Bayh cronies very wealthy. Hilbert also owned a piece of the state's only horse race track at that time, again courtesy of the Bayh administration.


Flogger said...

Susan Bayh has hovered around as a director on the boards of a variety of companies in the Health Care Industry. No surprise that Evan Bayh supports $hillary Clinton. $hillary wants "improve" the ACA, which translated means improve the profits of the Heath Care Industry including the Pharmaceutical Companies.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you haven't yet written about the Dirtiest State in the Union inviting dirty companies FanDuel and Dreaft Kings to move their headquarters to Indiana.

Gary R. Welsh said...

You have at least one lawmaker questioning the legality of their gambling operations, anon. 12:03, and you have a couple inviting them to move to Indiana. Has Gov. Pence made that invitation? Otherwise, where'e the story?

leon dixon said... Tons of people knew this but duh media didn't care to look or inform. They got the Black Person they had long lusted for. Anyone with access to Roeser's Radio Show knew all about this racist. Obama is more and more looking like someone's plant and the list of who has the resources to do that covering up is a very short list.
Roeser also had a blog and wrote extensively....did you ever come across him in your Illinois days? Bayh always was an empty suit and that lacunae endeared him to the media who were of necessity also empty suits then and now. Any biographer who ignores, in my opinion, the Roeser materials, would be a fraud...almost as bad as duh media who also ignored those written and verbal records.

Anonymous said...

Bayh or bought? Not one local so-called major media outlet reports this.

Anonymous said...

Would love to read Cady's book - any suggestions on where to locate it?

Gary R. Welsh said...

You can get a Kindle edition on Amazon.

The soft-bound book is no longer available.

Unknown said...

The West Lafayette library has it, so you should be able to get it via interlibrary loan.

LamLawIndy said...

Gary, as you've noted before, though, the First Amendment would protect Sen. Bayh's writing an opinion piece for a newspaper.

Gary R. Welsh said...

If you believe he's paid big bucks just to write editorials for his law firm's clients.

Marycatherine Barton said...

Thanks to Gary's recommendations, I long ago purchased DEADLINE INDIANAPOLIS, at Amazon, and am so glad I did.