CNN review shows Bayh repeatedly listed homes in Washington as his main residence
Bayh spokesperson: 'Evan lives in Indiana and pays his taxes in Indiana'
Evan Bayh pushed back at an interviewer last month when he was asked if he would move back to Indiana now that he is running to win back his old Senate seat.
“I’ve never left,” he told WISH-TV.
It turns out he did.
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.
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.
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.
And when he hit the speaking circuit after his post-senatorial life, his firm noted that he travels “from D.C.”
The revelations could add fodder to the GOP argument that the Democrats’ star recruit of the 2016 Senate class abandoned his home state to enjoy the luxuries of Washington. That’s reminiscent of how veteran Republican Sen. Dick Lugar was ousted in 2012 after he was lashed for living in the Washington suburbs rather than owning a home in Indiana.
“The only time he ever shows up in Indiana is when he wants something from us,” said Trevor Foughty, campaign manager for Bayh’s GOP rival, Rep. Todd Young. “And he’s so unbelievably arrogant, he actually thinks Hoosiers don’t notice.”
Bayh declined to be interviewed, and his campaign did not respond directly to questions about how often he stayed at his Indiana residence after leaving the Senate. But a spokesman with the former senator pushed back against accusations that he’s abandoned his state, calling them a “cover up” initiated by Young.
“Evan Bayh is a fifth-generation Hoosier and has a record of distinction as Indiana’s senator and governor,” said Bayh spokesman Ben Ray. “Evan lives in Indiana and pays his taxes in Indiana, unlike Congressman Young, who has fraudulently taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax deductions for a home he didn’t live in in Indiana. Hoosiers know and trust Evan Bayh and will not fall for this cover up by his opponent.”
Bayh’s office was referring to a controversy when Young in 2012 improperly claimed a tax deduction after erroneously claiming he was living in a house in Bloomington, Indiana, saving himself roughly $5,000. After CNN raised questions on the matter, Young paid back taxes and apologized for what he called “embarrassing oversights.”
Bayh bolsters Dems’ Senate hopes
Despite his liabilities, Bayh’s late entrance gives Democrats a serious shot at winning in the reliably red state, improving their already strong chances of taking back the Senate, where the GOP now holds a 54-46 majority.
Bayh’s decision to run even surprised Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had worked behind the scenes to help Young win his nomination fight over a tea party-aligned foe.
“It has an impact,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN when asked about Bayh. “He’s a well-known, well-funded individual. We have a great candidate. Indiana’s a red state, and we intend to beat Evan Bayh.”
Democratic leaders, led by New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, lobbied Bayh hard to jump into the race for months. And with Democrats hoping for a wave election spawned by Donald Trump’s unpopularity, Bayh ultimately decided to pull the trigger last month, prompting the party’s candidate, Baron Hill, to drop out of the race and clear the way for the former senator.
Bayh’s post-Senate life faces scrutiny
When he abandoned his bid for a third Senate term in 2010, Bayh bashed the Senate, saying there was not enough “practical problem-solving” and too much “narrow ideology.”
“I do not love Congress,” he said.
But shortly after leaving Congress, Bayh found a lucrative life in Washington. He signed on as a senior adviser with a private equity firm, Apollo Global Management, and a strategic adviser with the high-end K Street shop, McGuireWoods. He became a paid analyst for Fox News, served on five corporate boards and hit the speaking circuit, signing up with the Washington firm, Leading Authorities.
Bayh, a 60-year-old former senator and two-term governor, hails from a political dynasty in the state. His father, Birch, was a senator for nearly two decades. And his name identification, reputation as a centrist and the fondness for his family give him a leg-up in the race against Young.
With a multi-million war chest he’s preserved since leaving office, Bayh is already spending money on TV, promoting himself as an independent-minded pol needed to break Washington’s gridlock.
“Now I look at my grown sons, Hoosier families and America – and can’t sit on the sidelines,” Bayh says in the ad, standing with his sleeves rolled up and staring into the camera in a quiet neighborhood.
Despite the challenges in beating Bayh, Republicans believe they can seize on his baggage – namely how he spent his time over the past six years.
While he maintains an Indiana drivers’ license, less than a month after leaving office in 2011, he changed his address with Indiana’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles to one of his properties in Washington. (A year later, his license was suspended after failing to appear in court following a speeding ticket in Maryland.)
After Bayh stayed at a JW Marriott a short cab ride from his Indianapolis condo last summer, a reimbursement check from his campaign account was sent to his address in Washington, according to Federal Election Commission records.
When he contributed to Clinton’s campaign last year, Bayh recorded a different Washington address for his home: his $2.9 million house in Georgetown. Earlier this year when he contributed to the congressional campaign of Leon Panetta’s son, Jimmy, he did list an Indiana address.
Yet after he purchased his 2,990-square-foot southern Florida condo in Key Biscayne, the 2013 deed – obtained by CNN – noted that his mailing address was in Washington, making no mention of his Indianapolis condo.
Asked last month about his three out-of-state properties compared to his small Indianapolis condo, Bayh told the Indianapolis Star: “Susan and I spent the last couple of nights at our Indianapolis home, and we like it,” referring to his wife. “If Congressman Young and his allies want to attack me, that’s their decision. I’m going to attack the challenges that face Hoosier families and our country. That’s why I’m running.”