Indiana Senate: Bayh Skipped 76 Percent of Armed Services Committee Hearings, Including During Iraq War

Posted: Oct 27, 2016 11:01 AM

The guy barely did his job the first time around, now he wants it again -- after enriching himself as a DC lobbyist?  Audacious.  And it's not even like he was running for president and therefore AWOL in the Senate, which is a bipartisan tradition. He just wasn't showing up for work. On the committee overseeing America's troops. Not a good look at all, via Buzzfeed:

Former Sen. Evan Bayh appears to have spent little time in Senate Armed Services Committee hearings while he was a member between 2003 and his departure from the Senate in 2011, missing more than three-quarters of the influential panel’s meetings, according to Senate records and a copy of his daily schedule obtained by BuzzFeed News. Bayh, who is once again running for the Senate after a five-year hiatus in the private sector, is considered one of the keys to Democrats’ hopes of retaking the Senate this year. Although initially seen as a likely pickup, his campaign in recent weeks has been dogged by questions about his seriousness after leaked copies of his schedule as a senator appear to show he spent more time fundraising, traveling at taxpayer expense and potentially job hunting than being focused on his job in the Senate...the ambitious senator rarely showed up to hearings of the committee, particularly in the run up to the March 20, 2003, invasion of Iraq. According to attendance data on the committee’s website, Bayh only attended five of the 24 hearings Armed Services held between Jan. 1, 2003, and April 9, 2003, the day Hussein’s statue was toppled in Baghdad.

Overall, throughout his career on the committee, the Indiana Democrat would miss roughly 76% of hearings, a figure reported by the Free Beacon earlier this month. In fact, on the morning of the invasion, the committee held a hearing on that year’s defense authorization bill, a critical piece of legislation that laid out defense spending priorities for fiscal year. But while Bayh would miss the 9:45 a.m. hearing — where then Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham would testify about his department’s atomic energy defense activities — he did make it to an “informal breakfast” held by the Investment Company Institute earlier that morning. That evening, as the first steps of the invasion of Iraq were raging, Bayh attended a reception — which a Republican charged was a fundraiser — at the home of Jamie Gorelick, who at the time was vice chair of Fannie Mae. The next day, following a members briefing on the war, Bayh and his wife would head out of DC to Vail, Colorado for three days, where he would attend fundraisers and a charity event.

He wasn't just generally absent; he skipped crucial hearings during key stretches of the Iraq invasion, opting to attend networking events, and lavish political fundraisers.  Bayh had voted in favor of the war in 2002, but apparently couldn't be bothered to follow-up on the conflict he'd authorized.  He also supported the Obamacare fiasco, a vote from which he ran away by retiring in 2010.  It was recently revealed that Bayh did not spend a single night at his supposed "residence" in Indiana during 2010, allowing other people to pay for his accommodations during his rare visits to his alleged home state.  Bayh also used taxpayer dollars to fund a trip to New York City during which he went job-hunting for a lucrative lobbying job -- while he was still in office.  Bayh had many connections on Wall Street to exploit, having dined with banking lobbyists on the very day he voted in favor of the Wall Street bailouts.  And with all of this controversy swirling this week, what has Bayh been up to?  Campaigning hard in the Hoosier state?  Nah, I'll let his Republican opponent deliver the punchline:

The state's largest newspaper has now endorsed Young in the race, apparently preferring an Indianan to represent Indiana in DC. Elsewhere in the pitched battle for control of the Senate, a fresh poll of New Hampshire shows Kelly Ayotte running dead even with the Democrat governor of that state, affirming that contest's "pure toss-up" status we discussed yesterday.  I'll leave you with new ads from close Senate races in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Missouri:

Twelve days.