Lots of congressmen, of course, ostentatiously sleep in their offices, enjoying 24/7 taxpayer-funded protection by the Capitol Police, to show they are mere transients like all the other tourists. Even House Speaker Paul Ryan does it. Similarly, Hillary Clinton, the quintessential Washington insider, purposely located her campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, even though she probably doesn’t even know the nearest subway stop.
But an exhaustive CNN report Monday makes clear that former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, again seeking the seat once held by his famous father, has been trying to pretend he is the ultimate Beltway outsider while listing his two expensive DC homes as his main places of residence.
Bayh loudly announced in 2010 he would not seek re-election after two terms because of supposed hyper-partisan gridlock due to the “distorting influence of money in politics.”
Almost immediately upon leaving office he reportedly proceeded to help rich folks do the alleged distorting. Within weeks of leaving the Senate, according to the Indianapolis Star, he joined a huge private equity company and quickly became partner at the Washington powerhouse law firm McGuire Woods. He has since amassed “lucrative corporate board appointments” earning “at least $3.7 million in cash, stock awards and other compensation.”
But after announcing his new Senate run last month, Bayh suddenly went native. When a local Indiana television reporter asked when he was coming home, Bayh insisted, “I never left.”
“A CNN review of public records since Bayh left office in 2011 shows the Democrat repeatedly listed his two multi-million dollar homes in Washington as his main places of residence — not the $53,000 condo he owns in Indianapolis,” CNN’s Manu Raju writes.
“Just three weeks after leaving office in 2011, Bayh changed his address to his $2.3 million home in a leafy neighborhood in Washington, according to Indiana records. And often when Bayh registered his address — whether it was on an Alaska fishing license, a donation to Hillary Clinton or on the deed to his beachfront property in Southern Florida — he listed Washington as his home,” according to CNN.
The zinger: “Even when Bayh returned back to Indianapolis last summer for an Indiana Democratic Party dinner, he stayed at a JW Marriott just 12 miles away from his condo. A source with Indianapolis Power and Light said Bayh’s monthly electric bills averaged less than $20 per month since 2012, suggesting little — if any — use at his Indiana condo.”
Uh, Can he spin the low electric bill to liberal voters as energy efficiency? Probably not.
Bayh’s opponents are making hay of the CNN revelations. The spunky American Rising super PAC said Monday, “the daily drumbeat of damaging revelations makes it clear he traded in his Hoosier roots for the smoke-filled backrooms of Washington and the boardrooms of Wall Street a long time ago.”
Wait. Since when do conservative super PACs demonize Wall Street? Isn’t that Bernie Sanders’ job? More importantly, the faux populism here, like the kind liberals often do, is really annoying.
What precisely is wrong with Bayh trading “in his Hoosier roots” for power and influence in Washington? If people in DC are content with their hometown “roots” why would they transplant themselves here to begin with?
Bayh is not substantially different than any of the pseudo-outsiders whose power and influence is entirely Washington-based. He just found a more comfy place to sleep.