I guess it makes sense that Evan Bayh is vociferously opposed to the public option:
His wife, Susan Bayh, sits on the board of WellPoint(WLP Quote) in 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.
Evan Bayh, bought and paid for in full for the price of two million bucks. What a country.
Thanks to the emailer who sent this in.
That’s a lot, really, I’ amazed at how cheaply many of them can be bought.
insert m up there /no edit mumble
Jack update: still gone
Meanwhile, Hadassah Lieberman works for Hill and Knowlton, a lobbying/pr firm, as their senior counselor for health and pharmaceuticals.
Know thy enemy.
I had edit for exactly one day since the site update. None since.
I used to work in advertising. I can tell you that it is far cheaper to buy off enough Congresspersons to strangle a vote than it is to run even a small-scale national ad campaign, especially in the Senate. From some of the amounts I’ve seen – donations, perks, etc. – a Senator costs less than a highway billboard in a mid-market city and a fraction of a 30-second ad on primetime network TV.
jeffreyw: you dog has fled? I hope he comes home soon!
Oh I don’t know….. approx $333K a year for being on the Board seems normal.
Any other professional would have to recuse themselves tho. Conflict of interest and all.
There is that.
Glenn Greenwald was really effective on television last night on both the Bayh and Lieberman health care lobbying connections.
He kept repeating “corrupt” and “corruption”, which is straight-forward and refreshing, and probably not an accidental choice of words.
He did a great job.
I’m sure either would be happy to. Recusal works out the same as a no vote.
Leelee for Obama
I’m gonna ask a naive, and probably really stupid question. What would happen if all the Congress members-House and Senate-who had ties of their own or through family to entities affected by legislation being voted on had to recuse themselves from voting on those issues? Would the remaining Congress members be able to vote? A quorum, perhaps? That sounds more ethical than this kind of crap. I know, I know, I’m really cute, and very dumb, right?
Living close to Indiana and having plenty of local progressive friends who live just across the state line, Susan Bayh has been an issue for years for many of us. It’s not just WellPoint (the nation’s largest commercial insurer!!); Susan’s a real pro at this kind of thing and sits on at least five other corporate boards at present, including Emmis Communications. If memory serves, she was a board member at E-Trade right up until the crash this time last year, same time she divested from Big Pharma (she sat on the board for MDRNA, fer crying out loud) when the conflict-of-interest cries grew too loud for her corporatist suck-up Senator husband to bear.
To call her a corporatist would be the understatement of the year, and as someone affected not just by national politics but Hoosier politics too, I’m thrilled that the health care debate is bringing her corporate whoredom to the forefront. Better late than never. Thanks very much for this, John.
This is the classic definition of rent-seeking behavior, because they come so cheap.
Leelee for Obama
@MikeJ: I was typing while you were. Are you sure that it would count as a no? What about abstentions?
@MikeJ: You are right of course.
But should’t there be way to handle this sort of thing?
The legal system can function when these situations come up.
funny, that’s what I thought too. Politicians can be bought cheap in this country. When you can get millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions in return for donating a couple hundred thousand bucks…
“For example, Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette reported on December 15, 2007 (Sylvia A. Smith, Washington editor) that the senator’s wife, Susan Bayh, earned $248,700 from stock options she “earned” from participation on the corporate board of WellPoint, Inc. and sold when the stock was at its highest price. Over the prior four years, the paper reported, Bayh earned money from sales of stocks eight times from Wellpoint, the health insurance giant; Curis Inc., a pharmaceutical developer, and the E-Trade bank. She gained $1.7 million in pre-tax earnings from seven of these transactions. The story also listed Susan Bayh’s 2007 public transactions including, in January, the purchase of 3,333 shares of WellPoint stock at $44.18 per share and selling them for $78 earning $112,722, and, in May, the acquisition of the same number of shares and selling them for $84.98 per share earning $135,978.In 2006, Bayh bought 20,001 shares of WellPoint and sold them earning $796,078.
The Lafayette Journal and Courier (Maureen Groppe, Gannett Washington Bureau) reported on June 15, 2009 that Susan Bayh owns between $500,000 and $1 million in employee stock in the “Indianapolis-based insurance giant,” WellPoint. WellPoint is one of eight corporate boards she sits on including the Curis, the pharmaceutical developer. ”
I think this is a big problem. If the stock price rises every time Evan Bayh opens his mouth, he’s directly benefiting from blocking reform.
@anonymoose: Yeah, he and Buddy got away from Mrs J yesterday, Bud came back sans Jack.
@Cat Lady: Mrs J called from work today, asking if he was back, I told her no…not yet.
@kay: Did you happen to catch Glennzilla this morning on Dylan Ratigan’s show, up against Dan Senor? It was like watching a steel cage death match between Sasquatch and Tinkerbell. I’m pretty sure Glenn left blood on the floor. I found it hard to believe Senor would even agree to that in advance.
Not sure it’s been talked about here today, but I was incredibly moved by the President’s trip to Dover as the latest US servicemen killed in Afghanistan were brought home. As long as I’ve been watching the White House, I’ve never seen a President do that before, and I’d like to thank him.
If you need 60 for cloture and you get rid of those votes, I don’t see how you get to 60. You can reduce the number needed for cloture if the seats are empty, but I don’t think there’s any provision in the Senate rules for people who just don’t vote (which in fact happens all the time.) Remember when Teddy was sick and only showing up for really important votes? While he was a senator his vote was still required for cloture.
Of course I could be wrong about all of this. I’ve not read the senate rules in quite some time.
Yes. Glennzilla was teh awesome. Wish he’d come back from Rio and appear on tv more often.
This makes Bayh akin to a hired hit man. He kills people for money. But since he wears a nice suit and doesn’t talk like those guys in Goodfellas it’s perfectly legit.
Glenn had the video from his appearances yesterday on his website.
Leelee for Obama
@MikeJ: You are probably correct. When a Senator can’t come to vote, it doesn’t change the dynamic, does it? I was just wondering if recusals due to conflict-of-interest would be treated differently-they should be, for sure. It would change the ethics level in the Congress in an instant.
I did, but I wasn’t happy with the second appearance.
I’m ridiculously picky. I loved Greenwald last night on corruption, but I feel as if he gets too muddled on Afghanistan-Iraq. He got mad, and that hurt him. His whole advantage is calm recitation of facts, in strong, clear language. I was surprised to see him talking over the host and his opponent this morning. I felt as if he got rattled.
@Will: Good to know we as a country have our priorities straight.
On the other hand, if Senators are so cheap, why can’t We, the People get together and buy them off.
John Cole: Why do you always shit on the Obama administration? Why do you hate them? :-)
Leelee for Obama
Funny, I thought that’s what voting for them was supposed to do! Silly me! Civics classes should be re-instated and the need to pool money to buy off the Nimrods we vote for to get them to work for us should be Lesson # !
I’m depressed again! Merde!
@kay: When one is dealing with teh stupid of Dan Senor, I can see where one could get a little frustrated. I thought Glenn held it together well, especially as Senor kept insisting we should stay forever in Afghanistan because of Al Qaeda training camps while repeating his “what’s the matter with war without end” position.
I thought Glenn was terrific. But then again I cop to just outright loathing Dan Senor, so maybe it didn’t take much to impress me.
@jeffreyw:So happy about Buddy, so sad about Jack. Good luck and please keep us updated.
Leelee for Obama
This is the main reason I don’t ever pay attention to Campbell Brown. Her taste in men sucks!
@beltane: Or what Tom Hagan (The Godfather) said… (paraphrasing) “The Don said a man can make more money with a briefcase than a gun”…
I’m completely sympathetic to his getting mad, but I felt as if he tried to accomplish too much in 2 minutes.
He’s probably right if he’s thinking they’ll never let him on again, so he has to speak while he can, and he has to assume the casual listener is playing catch-up. Still, I don’t think he can recite his whole broad foreign policy argument while responding to specific questions.
@jeffreyw: I hope your dog comes back soon. I’m sorry to hear he got away. If one of my cats got out, I’d be worried sick.
I’m not objective where Susan Bayh is concerned (I knew her in law school). But to say that the combination of her connections and hubby’s positions smells funny is rather an understatement.
C’mon, Bayh is with us on everything except corruption.
Lieberman’s the same. Besides, what’s a few hundred thousand more dead Afghans (or Wog of the Day)? What’s more important: Health care or them. Go easy on Joe and Evan Bayh.
Eyes on the prize.
@kay: Right. And Glennzilla’s level of intellect and informed opinion is probably not well-suited to today’s modern, dumbed-down teevee punditry.
This is what I was SO afraid of back in the summer of 2008:
Plouffe: Obama’s Veep Pick a ‘coin toss’ between Bayh and Biden
For me, “Vice President Bayh” would’ve made for a scary Halloween.
I was glad to see him. I knew it would be interesting. They’re going to find it difficult to turn him into a clownish cartoon of a “leftist”, which probably means he won’t be back.
Leelee for Obama
@JenJen: I never thought for a minute Barack would choose Bayh. Can’t say why, just knew it would be Biden. Maybe it’s because I like Joe, or maybe it’s because I really think Bayh is a sell-out to corporatists. Joe’s not perfect, God knows, I wanted to brain him fro the Bankruptcy bill, but he’s mostly on my wavelength.
Bayh has always reminded me of Dan Quayle, so there’s that.
@JenJen: Don’t think that Bayh getting stiffed for Veep hasn’t been key in all of his bullshit the last year…
He formed his fucking group of centrist WATB Senators to slow down Obama almost immediately after being stood up.
@JenJen: At least if we ended up with VP Bayh, we might have a replacement senator from Indiana who wasn’t such a [choose your own adjective(s)]
Is it really too much to expect that a sitting Senator would cut off all ties to industry, including those of their immediate relatives? What are we paying them $175k a year for?
@agio: It seems like that is a pittance to some of them. I think that’s why they run for office in the first place. All the money that can be made outside the salary.
@agio: $175K is chump change in the world of the village. Just saying.
@agio: I’d gladly up all the Congresscritters salaries to half a million dollars a year if they cut off all their (and their immediate relatives) ties to industry as you suggested.
At the same time, I would be pissed if I had to quit a job just because one of my parents (or my siblings) decided to run for office.
Thinkin’ of a master plan
Cuz ain’t nuthin’ but sweat inside my hand
So I dig into my pocket, all my money is spent
So I dig deeper but still comin’ up with lint
So I start my mission- leave my residence
Thinkin’ how could I get some dead presidents
I need money, my senate salary just won’t do
So I think of all the devious things I can do
I need to roll up, this is a hold up, ain’t nuthin’ funny
Stop smiling, be still, don’t nuthin’ move but the money
So now I learned to earn, I’m self-righteous
I feel great! so maybe I might just
Search for a 9 to 5 for my wife
Then maybe I can live the life
So I walk into WellPoint whistlin’ this
Ask ’em if they’ve got a seat for my miss
On their Board of Directors, and maybe some committee love
Me and Mrs. B and a big plate of
Steak, which is my favorite dish
It’s what I order when I’m eating with my lobbyists
Cos I don’t like to dream about gettin’ paid
So I dig into the books of the laws that I made
To now test to see if I got pull
Hit the Senate floor, cos I’m paid in full
Elie the Amateur
I think this kind of specific information (about Susan Bayh and Lieberman’s wife), is exactly what surfaces when we have to use the Congress correctly…
It takes time and effort to squeeze this out and then for the system to apply it correctly (presumably when these jokers are up for election or outed and pushed into compliance)
This is how it is supposed to work, in my opinion. It has been a long time coming and obviously, we still have to work to make it work the way we want.
If the Executive is the only branch implementing and initiating change, these slimmy types donot get exposed as easily
No kidding. His wife makes far more money by “working” on the boards of companies.
Keep heading north, $500k isn’t going to cut it. That doesn’t even get you close to the top 500 in terms of CEO pay.
If you have the smarts to win a Senate seat, then chances are you could probably swing an executive level job with a Fortune 500 company.
Davis X. Machina
If I as a teacher of electives had a shot at getting the school board making my course mandatory, I’d be on it like a lineman on a fumble.
Here’s what mystifies me….why are the insurance companies fighting tooth and nail to stop legislation that’s going to drive customers to their door, with the full majesty of the law applying sanctions to those who refuse to be so driven? It smacks of B’rer Rabbit and the Briar patch, but they’re spending millions to avoid being thrown, which is an expensive bluff — and a lot of money to spend defending a principle.
They will be made to toe the line on exclusions, recisions, etc, but they can make up in volume what they lose per unit, surely? Are they really going to lose money if they can’t screw people over with their usual alacrity?
Or is the public option really the thin end of the single payer wedge? The public option won’t be open to more than a handful of the drive-ees, it appears, so it isn’t the lethal threat per se….
Color me bemused.
@BFR: Yeah I know. I went with half a million because it is large enough that you shouldn’t get much sympathy if you complain about it. At $175K, I think people could get some (not unreasonable) sympathy if that was their entire household income. Not that $175K is peanuts, but it is less than Joe the Plumber would expect a successful couple to make. I threw half a million out as the number that Joe might think was reasonable.
Leelee for Obama
@BFR: I beg to differ, cases in point: Inhofe, Coburn, Spencer Baccus, Liddy Dole, David Vitter, Mary Landrieu, John Cornyn, Bill Posey(my critter-damnit), the list is endless.
Leelee for Obama
@Leelee for Obama: Meant to add-I am constantly impressed when these dipshits tie their shoes correctly.
@jeffreyw: I haz a sad now. Sending strong vibes that he comes home safe and sound. Come on, Jack! Go home!
The deep corruption of the Congress people is disgusting, but I don’t see a way to easily end it.
@asiangrrlMN: I am sending psyching vibes to Jack as well.
Go home Jack! That’s a good boy! Go on home!!
I figure if my sister has single handedly made sure that every flight she has taken has had a successful landing due to her willing it, then the mind power of many Balloon Juicers can clearly influence Jack to get home safely.
I am disappointed in myself, because this never really occurred to me, before. Is he pulling a Lieberman? As in, “this is all about me, as it is has always been and forever shall be”?
Leelee for Obama
@JenJen: I’m with you, jenjen, I just thought Bayh was being his typical asshole self. This adds a wrinkle I didn’t identify earlier.
DougL (frmrly: Conservatively Liberal)
She sits on eight corporate boards? How many was she sitting on before Evan won his position in the Senate and how many came after the fact? Eight f’ing boards?! How many of these boards can benefit from her husbands actions (or lack of) in the Senate? How many of them might benefit from colleagues of his in the Senate through mutual back scratching?
This is clearly a conflict of interest, no doubt about it, if not a clear case of outright bribery.
I could be bought for a whole lot less than 2 million. For a paltrid 1 mill, I’d vote any damn way they wanted.