Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Indiana Senator Looks Out for His Pocketbook

By Eric Jackson

06/23/10 - 10:15 AM EDT

Stock quotes in this article: WLP , C , GS , TWX

Eight months ago, I wrote about Sen. Evan Bayh's (D., Ind.) self-interested views on the proposed health care reform.

His wife, Susan Bayh, sits on the board of WellPoint(WLP) from her hometown of Indianapolis. Over the last six years, Susan Bayh has received at least $2 million in compensation from WellPoint alone for serving on its board. What's more, she has four other lucrative corporate directorships. In 2008, she collected $656,062 in cash and stock for all her board work.

Sen. Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) and wife Susan

Sen. Bayh receives $165,000 in annual salary. According to 2008 reports filed, Susan Bayh's stock holdings were worth between $1.3 million and $2.7 million. Their family's total net worth was between $4.3 million and $15.1 million. And they owned a $1 million home in Washington in the name of Susan Bayh.

Why wouldn't Susan Bayh's financial relationships have a material impact on shaping Evan Bayh's views on health care reform and the countless other political issues he voted on through the years?

Last November, Bayh surprisingly announced he wouldn't seek re-election this fall. After all, he was a strong front-runner to be Obama's vice presidential candidate back in 2008. So the 54-year old went from potentially being a heartbeat away from the presidency to -- a year later -- professing that he no longer wanted to be in politics.

Politicians -- even lame duck ones -- just can't seem to leave without trying to polish up their image before they go. Sen. Dodd has been feverishly trying to pass his financial reform bill before the clock strikes midnight on his political career. On the surface, you would think that -- given the state of the economy after Wall Street basically stopped functioning two years ago and given the Democratic majorities in both the Senate and the House -- financial reform would be a slam dunk to pass. Not so.

One of the latest changes to have emerged as part of the plan is the issue of "proxy access." Despite the fact that our free market system is the most open and transparent in the world -- and despite us believing that CEOs work for their shareholders -- our current system allows CEOs to have a huge influence in selecting their board of directors who is charged with overseeing their performance and setting their salary.


[** This post is an excerpt of the full article, which is available on by clicking here. Free Site.**]

Sphere: Related Content
blog comments powered by Disqus