Whether participating in glittery dinners with heads of state, or tête-à-têtes in the Oval Office, Andrew Liveris, the chief executive of Dow Chemical, has regularly visited the White House.
He served as co-chairman of President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. He stood beside the president onstage at events.
Many of these Washington appearances by Mr. Liveris — which have totaled more than two dozen since 2009 — were arranged with the help of Teneo, an advisory firm with close ties to the Democratic establishment. Dow is Teneo’s biggest and most lucrative account, paying millions of dollars a year in fees, according to a 2014 lawsuit filed against Dow and interviews with two Teneo employees.
Other prominent employees have included former President Bill Clinton and Huma Abedin, who, starting in 2012, briefly worked at Teneo while employed at the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton. At the same time, Ms. Abedin held a paid position at the Clinton Foundation, the family-founded charitable organization. Last year, Teneo declined to answer questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding Ms. Abedin’s employment…
Heather Bresch, the chief executive of the pharmaceutical company Mylan, was given two salons by Teneo in 2011 — one in a New York City apartment and a second at a private home in Washington that attracted a mix of media, finance and political elite. Then, in 2012, a Teneo employee and Ms. Bresch met with President Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett at the White House, according to White House records.
This year Ms. Bresch was thrust into the spotlight after Mylan increased the price of its EpiPen, a lifesaving allergy treatment, sixfold. A Mylan spokeswoman, Nina Devlin, confirmed that the company had been a client of Teneo, saying the relationship ended in 2012. She declined to address specific questions about the dinners.
In Washington, Teneo salons — often home-cooked dinners that occasionally include homemade ice cream — are sometimes held in the home of Margaret Carlson, a columnist for Bloomberg View. Guests have included United States Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, and Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, according to several former Teneo employees.
In a statement, Teneo said the salon dinners were an “extremely small part” of its operations and that they were “information thought leadership events” that were typically attended by heads of leading think tanks and nonprofit organizations, public officials and members of the media, including journalists from The New York Times. An individual inside the firm also said that all appropriate disclosures to participants were made.
– From the recent New York Times article: A Constellation of Influencers: Behind the Curtain at Teneo
If you haven’t read the recent New York Times article on “advisory firm” Teneo, you should really take the time. It adds yet another piece to the disturbing puzzle of how the “real axis of evil;” government, media and big business, collude behind closed doors to concentrate money and power in an increasingly small number of hands. This is a very well oiled machine — sophisticated, unethical, organized and incredibly destructive. It’s what really runs this country, and it doesn’t care in the least about the suffering and despair of the American people.
Of course, it takes two to tango. From the beginning of time, big money has always attempted to buy off legislators and others in positions of political power. What separates successful societies from failed states is the relative level of cronyism that the stewards of the public good are willing to tolerate and participate in. In 2016 America, the level of corruption is at failed state/Banana Republic levels, and the citizenry is starting to figure it out.
Many of you will know the name Evan Bayh. He’s the son of three-term Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, and went on to become Governor of Indiana from 1983-1997, and then Senator himself from 1999-2011. Upon leaving “public service,” he did what most of these government prostitutes do — made millions and millions of dollars doing pretty much nothing.
As a recent article from Politico reveals, the Bayh family had assets worth $2.1-$7.7 million in when he left the Senate in 2010, but it has since surged to a range of $13.8 million-$48 million. Making that kind of money isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s particularly suspicious in the hands of a man supposedly dedicated to the public good.
So how did the couple make all this money? Evan, for example, joined law lobbying firm McGuireWoods and became an advisor to private equity giant Apollo Global as upon leaving the Senate. Meanwhile, I can’t figure out for the life of me what his wife Susan does. She seems to be a “professional board member” for a variety of large companies.
Wikipedia notes the following about Susan:
A newspaper in her state has described her as being engaged in a profession it termed “professional board member” or “professional director”.
An Indiana newspaper listed eight corporations of which Bayh was a director, as of 2006. Bayh began serving on corporate boards in 1994 and has since served on the boards of 14 corporations, including the insurance, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries.
No, no conflict of interest there.
Meanwhile, a reference link on Susan’s Wikipedia page points to a 2007 article published at the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette titled, “Across the Boards.” Unfortunately, it leads to the following result:
It’s not just Wikipedia. A Talking Points Memo article from 2009 referenced that same broken link, so it was clearly a meaningful article which seems to have disappeared from the internet.
Nevertheless, here’s some of what we learn about Susan from thatTPM article:
Yesterday, Sen. Evan Bayh joined his colleague Joe Lieberman in suggesting that he may oppose health-care reform, citing concerns about the deficit. Bayh has long been one of the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus. But is his stance also affected by the fact that his wife has reportedly earned at least $2 million over the last six years as a member of the board of a major health insurer?
Susan Bayh’s affiliation with Indianapolis-based WellPoint isn’t news. But a new report on TheStreet digs into the details. It also finds that last year, Susan Bayh sat on four other corporate boards, in addition to WellPoint’s. She received over $656,0000 in cash and stock for all her board work, around half of which came from WellPoint.
As the site puts it: “Susan Bayh’s corporate directorships provide a significant chunk of the Bayh family income.”
It’s also worth noting that Susan Bayh was a mid-level attorney at Eli Lilly before joining WellPoint’s board in 1998, while her husband was governor. That suggests that the company, at least, may have felt that her value lay more in the access she offered to Evan Bayh than in her own accomplishments.
WASHINGTON – Since leaving Indiana as a first lady, Susan Bayh has become a professional board member, earning more than $1 million a year in director fees for advice she gives to companies that make pharmaceuticals, operate radio stations, sell health insurance policies, offer online banking and distribute ingredients to fast-food restaurants.
In the past four years, Bayh collected more than $1.7 million in pre-tax income when she exercised stock options from two of the corporations. Her actual income from exercising stock options is higher, but the details of one transaction were not publicly reported.
During the same time, her husband, Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., cast more than 3,000 votes, including some on issues of keen interest to the pharmaceutical, broadcast, insurance, food-distribution and finance industries.
Bayh said his wife’s business interests never influence how he votes, the bills he introduces or the positions he takes.
Last year, Susan Bayh served on the boards of six publicly traded and two privately held companies, putting her into a class described as “professional board member.”
She was first appointed to a public board seat in June 1994 when she was named to the Emmis Broadcasting board. Since then, she has been named to the boards of 14 businesses, primarily in the insurance or pharmaceutical industries. As of last year, she sat on the governing bodies of eight companies: Indianapolis-based Emmis Broadcasting and WellPoint Inc., the second-largest U.S. health insurance company; four pharmaceutical companies: Curis Inc., Dyax Corp., Nastech Pharmaceuticals and Dendreon Corp.; and privately held Golden State Foods of California and E-Trade Bank of Virginia.
Bayh’s appointment to six publicly traded boards is at the extreme end of what the National Association of Boards of Directors considers reasonable. The organization recommends that a professional with a full-time job serve on no more than three boards and that a retired or unemployed person limit directorships to five.
Apparently, all this person does is sit on corporate boards while being married to a Governor and Senator. Yep, nothing dirty about that.
Unfortunately, this story of betraying the public trust isn’t over, as Mr. cronyism Evan Bayh is once again running for the U.S Senate. He was initially up by over 20 points due to name recognition, but the race is tightening. Politico reports:
The Bayh name, which goes back six decades in Indiana politics, is under barrage — and this critical Senate battleground state will turn on whether Republicans can drive down his numbers even further in the next two weeks to stage what would be one of the biggest upsets of 2016.
Bayh, who’s never lost a race in 30 years in politics, acknowledges that his initial eye-popping advantage over Young was based mostly on name recognition. But he says that in his previous competitive races, for secretary of state in 1986 and then governor in 1988, he won by only single digits. He dismisses any notion that he is losing appeal with Indiana voters, whom he last faced on the ballot in 2004.
His 20-plus point lead is down to 6 points, according to the two most recent independent polls of the race. Shortly before those surveys, Young’s campaign announced his internal polling had him up a single point. Multiple Democratic operatives say their own internal polling finds Bayh still leading outside the margin of error.
However close it is, Republicans say the momentum is with Young, a hard-charging former Marine Corps officer who jumps at any chance to contrast his own background with the scion of Indiana politics.
Young’s strategy has been clear all along: Turn Bayh’s last name, and the notion that he’s relying solely on it to win, into a liability. And couple that with the case that Bayh left Indiana to profit from public service after voting on controversial policies such as President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Indeed, recently filed personal financial disclosure forms show Bayh has been compensated handsomely in his post-Senate life. He has banked nearly $6.3 million since January 2015 in salary, board compensation and speaking fees, according to those disclosures. Bayh and his wife, Susan, now report $13.9 million to $48 million in assets, compared with $2.1 and $7.7 million when Bayh left the Senate at the end of 2010.
Bayh doesn’t talk at length when asked to respond to charges that he profited from his time in the Senate.
“I’ve been proud to work with some good Indiana businesses, like Berry Plastics right here in Evansville, largest employer in town, to grow that company, to create jobs,” Bayh said in the interview, referring to one company that paid him $400,000 since January 2015 to sit on its board. “I’m proud of that.”
Young and his allies have latched onto a recent Associated Press report that found Bayh had more than four dozen meetings and phone calls concerning his future employment prospects between the time he announced his retirement from the Senate in February 2010 and the end of his term in December of that year. The Indianapolis Star subsequently noted that the Bayh campaign initially said Bayh did not meet with officials from Apollo Global Management, the private equity firm that has employed him since January 2011 — though the AP story revealed otherwise.
Another damaging AP report last week found that Bayh spent $3,000 of taxpayer money for trips to New York that included meetings with top banking officials and one job headhunter. Bayh denied using public dollars for personal use. But the AP stood by its report, which came out the same day Young earned the endorsement of the Star, the state’s largest newspaper.
I know absolutely nothing about his opponent, but I know this. Evan Bayh needs to lose this race.