INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Evan Bayh says that his Indianapolis condominium has long been his home, and that he has spent “lots and lots” of time there since deciding to run for his old Senate seat. But a copy of his schedule shows Bayh did not stay overnight there once during his last year in office in 2010.
The schedule provided to The Associated Press shows the Democrat spent taxpayer money, campaign funds or let other people pay for him to stay in Indianapolis hotels on the relatively rare occasions he returned from Washington, D.C.
During the same period, he spent $3,000 in taxpayer money on what appeared to be job hunting trips to New York, despite the assertion of his campaign that the trips were devoted to official media appearances.
The revelations raise new questions about Bayh’s ties to Indiana and his use of official funds as he campaigns to help Democrats retake the Senate.
The AP obtained Bayh’s schedule from a source who requested anonymity because the information was private. The Bayh campaign did not dispute its authenticity.
Earlier this month, the AP reported that Bayh spent substantial time during his last year in the Senate searching for a private sector job, while voting for or seeking changes to legislation that benefited the corporate and financial world.
Since unexpectedly entering the race in July, Bayh, whose primary residence is in Washington, has struggled to explain whether Indiana is home. During an interview with WLFI-TV in August he tried to put the issue to rest, but gave the wrong address for his condo, which is listed on his drivers’ license and voter registration.
“I’ll always be a Hoosier,” Bayh said last week. “We own our condominium. Period. From time to time I would stay someplace else, but our condo has always been our home.”
Bayh stayed at Indianapolis hotels roughly a dozen times in 2010, though taxpayers paid only a few hundred dollars because campaign funds or other people helped pick up the tab.
When asked last month how often he has stayed at his condo during the campaign, Bayh said: “I haven’t kept track, but lots and lots and lots.” He also accused his opponent, Republican Rep. Todd Young, of “using this as a distraction.”
Bayh’s schedule shows the four taxpayer-funded trips to New York between September and November 2010 revolved largely around meetings with a veritable who’s who of American banking and finance, as well as a job headhunter.
Senate ethics rules forbid the use of public money for personal travel. Bayh’s campaign says the trips to New York were justified because he also conducted official business, including giving interviews to journalists.
Bayh’s campaign initially made no mention of the meetings with leaders in the financial world. Later, presented with details from his schedule, campaign spokesman Ben Ray said the meetings were routine for Bayh, who served on the Senate’s banking committee.
“It was entirely ordinary and even important for him to meet with industry leaders to insist upon regulatory changes,” Ray said.
But the New York trips were all after he announced he was leaving the Senate in February, and after President Barack Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill that Bayh considered as a member of the committee.
Prior to 2010, Senate records show he hadn’t traveled to New York using Senate funds since 2002.
In September 2010, Bayh took two trips that cost taxpayers $1,414.
He flew to New York on Sept. 1, staying overnight with Adam Aron, a longtime friend and official at Apollo Global Management. After a morning appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Bayh met with Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan followed by JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
Five days later, he again flew to New York, leaving a family vacation at the Nantucket mansion of financier David Rubenstein. He again stayed with Aron, met with then-Credit Suisse executive Rob Shafir and taped an appearance with journalist Katie Couric.
Later, he met with Deutsche Bank chief executive Seth Waugh, dined with Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and returned to Aron’s apartment for the night. The next morning he had breakfast with Thomas Neff, a headhunter from New York firm Spencer Stuart.
In November 2010, he flew in for an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity. The Senate paid $519 for a stay at the Regency in Manhattan in addition to airfare. The next day Bayh met with Moelis and Co. investment bank CEO Ken Moelis, General Atlantic investment firm CEO William E. Ford and Leon Black, CEO of Apollo Global Management. Apollo hired Bayh two months later.
The trips were not the first time Bayh billed for travel that appears personal, records show. Over his two terms, he charged for a handful of trips, including $2,000 for return travel from a favorite family ski destination, Beaver Creek, Colorado, on two separate occasions. Ray says the expenses were legitimate because Bayh was returning to conduct Senate business.
A government watchdog group said his personal use of public money was cavalier.
“Sen. Bayh spent a long time in government service. His antenna should have been more attuned to keeping personal and public business separate,” said Julia Vaughn, the policy director for the left-leaning government watchdog group Common Cause Indiana.