Steve Buyer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Steve Buyer
Steve Buyer, official portrait, 111th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th district
In office
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Mark Souder
Succeeded by Todd Rokita
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 5th district
In office
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2003
Preceded by Jim Jontz
Succeeded by Dan Burton
Personal details
Born (1958-11-26) November 26, 1958 (age 55)
Rensselaer, Indiana
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Joni Buyer
Residence Monticello, Indiana
Alma mater The Citadel, Valparaiso University
Occupation Attorney
Religion Methodist
Military service
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1984–1987 (active)
1980–present (reserve)
Rank Colonel
Unit Judge Advocate General's Corps
Battles/wars Gulf War

Stephen Earle Buyer (/ˈbjər/ BOO-yər;[1][2] born November 26, 1958) is the former U.S. Representative for Indiana's 4th congressional district, and previously the 5th district, serving from 1993 until 2011. In 2012 Buyer started working for R.J. Reynolds, promoting the use of smokeless tobacco.[3] He is a member of the Republican Party. Buyer holds the rank of Colonel in the United States Army Reserve.

On January 29, 2010, Buyer announced he would not seek a tenth term to the House to spend more time with his wife, who has incurable autoimmune disease.[4] In January 2011, Buyer became a lobbyist for McKesson Corp.[5]

Early life, education, and career[edit]

Buyer was born in Rensselaer, Indiana. In 1976 he graduated from North White High School, where he had been class president.[6] In 1980 he received a B.S. degree from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and in 1984 he received a J.D. degree from the Valparaiso University School of Law.

Buyer served three years on active duty in the Army between 1984 and 1987. His first job civilian job, from 1987 to 1998, was as an Indiana state deputy attorney general; he then started his own private law practice.[6] He was elected to the U.S. House of Representative in November 1992, at age 33.

Military career[edit]

Buyer, as an Army reserve officer, had three years of active duty after graduating from law school in 1984. During the Gulf War (1990–1991), Buyer, then a captain, spent five months on active duty, giving legal counsel to commanders and interrogating Iraqi P.O.W.s.[6]

On March 20, 2003, Buyer said to The United States Congress that "I have been called to active duty in the United States Army. Pending further orders, I request immediate indefinite leave of the United States House of Representatives to accommodate my military duties." He also said that "a need was identified, of which Congressman Buyer has the unique skill and experience to meet the requirements," to serve in Iraq. Claiming to be called to active duty, he took a leave of absence from Congress.[7][8]

Buyer spent his paid absence from Congress in his home in Monticello Indiana. Ten days later, he said he had not been activated, contradicting his previous statement, and that he was returning to Congress. Defense Department rules, prevent those on active duty from campaigning for and holding elective office. Thus in June 2003, the Indianapolis Star reported that the Army, in a March 31 letter to Buyer signed by Army Secretary Thomas White, had rejected Buyer's offer to serve in the Iraq War because "we are able to meet the need without your participation," and "we are concerned that your presence would put in jeopardy the safety of those serving around you." [7]

In April 2004, Buyer was promoted to Colonel in the United States Army Reserve[9]

U.S. Representative[edit]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucuses[edit]

  • National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus
    • Co-Chairman and Founder
  • Congressional Automotive Caucus
  • Congressional Steel Caucus

In 1998, Buyer served one of the House managers (prosecutors) in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

Political positions[edit]

Term limits[edit]

In his 1992 campaign, Buyer supported bringing to a vote on the House floor a Congressional amendment for term limits on members of Congress. He voted for the measure and it received a majority of vote but not the 2/3 votes needed to pass.[10]

Torture[edit]

Buyer, who interrogated captured Iraqis during the Gulf War, voted against the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, specifically the no torture amendment offered by Senator John McCain. He reasoned that torture was already unlawful. He stated, "I think the people of Indiana need to know that there's a lot of grandstanding going on here, there's a lot of self-projection."[11]

Smoking[edit]

In June 2009, Buyer became the subject of some prime-time TV news attention when he likened the physical effects of smoking tobacco to those of smoking dried, rolled lettuce or grass when taking the floor against the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.[12] He stated:

[Y]ou could have smoked that lettuce and you would still end up with the same problems. You could cut the grass in your yard, dry it and roll it up in a cigarette and smoke it, and you're still going to have a lot of problems. It is the smoke that kills, not the nicotine. It's the smoke.[13]

Healthcare[edit]

In working to improve America’s health care system Buyer believes Congress should be focusing on what is broken with the current health care system and keep what is working and leave alone what Americans like about their health care and insurance, “So, when we talk about health care reform, we want to preserve that which is right, and we want to work on that which is wrong. When my Democrat colleagues of the leadership talk about health care reform, it's about a government-run, socialized health system. Let's reject that and let's work together.”[14]

Political campaigns[edit]

When Buyer first ran for Congress, in 1992, he faced three-term Democratic incumbent Jim Jontz in what was then the 5th District, comprising twenty mostly rural counties in north central Indiana. Republican Bud Hillis had represented the district for 16 years until his retirement in 1986. Jontz, then a state senator, was elected in the face of divided Republican opposition.[6] Buyer defeated Jontz by just over 5,000 votes. Buyer was reelected four times from this district with an average of 62 percent of the vote.

In 2002, Buyer was redistricted into the newly created 4th District, made up of 12 counties in west central Indiana, after the state lost a district in the 2000s round of redistricting.[15] Buyer had five opponents in the Republican primary, including fellow Republican congressman Brian Kerns.[16] Buyer won with 55 percent of the primary vote.[16] He easily won this heavily Republican district in November with 71 percent of the vote, and was reelected three more times after that with an average of 63 percent of the vote.

2008[edit]

In November 2008, Buyer defeated Democrat Nels Ackerson, spending $895,000 compared to $845,000 by Ackerson. Buyer won with 60 percent of the vote.[17]

2010 retirement[edit]

On January 29, 2010, Buyer announced his retirement from Congress. In the following January, Buyer became a lobbyist for McKesson Corp.; as he was prohibited from lobbying Congress due to a one-year "cooling off" period mandated for all retired Congressmen by federal law, he stated that his lobbying would be restricted to the executive branch.[5] in 2012 Buyer started working for R.J. Reynolds, promoting the use of smokeless tobacco.[3]

Campaign funds[edit]

Between January 2006 and October 2009, the largest combined donations to Buyer's campaigns came from the pharmaceutical industry ($263,000), and the healthcare professional industry ($214,000).[18] In recent years, his largest corporate donors have included Eli Lilly and Company, AT&T Inc. and Reynolds American.[19]

Frontier Education Foundation[edit]

In 2003, Buyer created The Frontier Education Foundation, whose stated purpose is educational funding for college students. The initial $25,000 to start the foundation came from the pharmaceutical lobbying organization PhRMA.[20] The foundation was located in Buyer's campaign office until 2009, when after a complaint was filed, it moved to an office 3 blocks away. In addition, weeks before that interview, Buyer's campaign chairman, who had also managed the Foundation, ceased operating as the Foundation's director.[20] She was receiving a salary from the foundation ranging $12,000-$17,000 a year. Buyer's daughter Colleen was the president of the foundation until August 1, 2009. His son Ryan, in 2009, was director of the foundation, according to filings with the Indiana Secretary of State [21]

In early October 2009, Buyer's press secretary referred questions to the foundation, saying "It's not Congressman Buyer's foundation," although the foundation shared an office with Buyer's campaign office in Monticello.[22] Several days later, Buyer said he had created the foundation, with the goal of creating a sustainable organization to award scholarships to high school seniors.[23]

As of the end of 2008, annual fundraising golf outings had raised more than $880,000 for the foundation. Almost all the contributions were from 20 companies and trade organizations that had interests before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which Buyer is a member. As of October 2009, the foundation had not awarded any scholarships, and had given out only $10,500 in charitable grants, almost half of which went to a cancer fund run by the chief Washington lobbyist for Eli Lilly and Company. Buyer said the foundation would need to raise at least $1 million to become self-sustaining; it would then begin awarding scholarships.

In June 2009, Buyer said "there is no connection" between his legislative actions and donations to the foundation. "I'm not an officer. I'm not a board director," he said of his role in the non-profit. "Do I help the foundation? Yes, I do. Do I help other charity groups? Yes, I do."[21]

On January 25, 2010, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) filed complaints against Rep. Buyer with the Office of Congressional Ethics and the IRS regarding possible ethics and federal tax law violations referencing The Frontier Education Foundation.[24] The complaint was later dismissed.[25]

Personal life[edit]

In 2008, in Golf Digest's list of the top 200 golfers among political power brokers in Washington, Buyer was ranked 32nd, with a handicap of 5.6.[26]

Buyer's daughter Colleen was the president of the Frontier Foundation until August 1, 2009. In 2007, she graduated from Purdue University with a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) [27]

Buyer's son Ryan received a business administration degree from Ball State University in 2008, and was hired in June 2008 as a federal affairs manager for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a major lobbying organization in Washington, D.C., and the largest donor to the foundation.[28] His position is just one step above an entry-level position, according to Ken Johnson, a senior vice president with PhRMA. "He's not a lobbyist. He researches legislation and writes reports," Johnson said.[29] He first worked for PhRMA as an intern while in college.[28] Johnson said that Ryan “went through the formal interview process, and he was brought on at the lowest rung of the organization as an intern and demonstrated a lot of willingness to learn and a great work ethic." [28]

Buyer's wife Joni works as a Business System Analyst at Purdue University, in West Lafayette.[30] Spending more time with his wife, due to her incurable autoimmune disease, was cited as the reason Buyer left Congress.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Buyer's own website on pronunciation of his name
  2. ^ "Pronunciation of Steve Buyer". inogolo. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  3. ^ a b "Steve Buyer lobbying for tobacco firm". WISH Jim Shella. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  4. ^ a b WISH Staff (January 29, 2010). "Rep Buyer: "I plan to complete my term". WISHTV 8. 
  5. ^ a b "Ex-lawmakers prove limits of 2007 ethics law with lobbying work, 2011". The Hill. Retrieved 2011-10-02. 
  6. ^ a b c d John Manners (November 1, 1992). "Aiming for High Office: Country lawyer Steve Buyer – a Desert Storm vet and a political rookie – puts his practice in limbo and his family's finances at risk to win a congressional seat". MONEY Magazine. 
  7. ^ a b Maureen Groppe (June 15, 2003). "Buyer: Thanks, But No Thanks". Indianapolis Star. 
  8. ^ "Letter from Representative Steven Buyer to House Speaker Dennis Hastert". Congressional Record. March 20, 2003. "Dear Mr. Speaker: I have been called to active duty in the United States Army. Pending further orders, I request immediate indefinite leave of the United States House of Representatives to accommodate my military duties. Respectfully, Steve Buyer, Member of Congress" 
  9. ^ "U.S. Rep. Buyer Receives Reserve Promotion". United Press International. May 1, 2004. 
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ "Buyer has unique perspective on torture ban", Tom Walker/Washington Bureau Chief, WTHR, Channel 13, Indianapolis
  12. ^ TDS report
  13. ^ "Program Segment". C-SPAN. Retrieved 11 April 2010. 
  14. ^ [2], Congressional Record
  15. ^ Lloyd de Vries (May 8, 2002). "Incumbents Ousted In Primaries". CBS News. 
  16. ^ a b Maureen Groppe (July 16, 2009). "Buyer outspent Kerns 2.5-1, new reports show". USA Today. 
  17. ^ "Baron Hill's win over Mike Sodrel most expensive". Indianapolis Star. December 6, 2008. 
  18. ^ http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=2010&type=I&cid=N00003924&newMem=N&recs=20 Center for Responsive Politics
  19. ^ Center for Responsive Politics
  20. ^ a b Sharyl Attkisson (November 11, 2009). "Can a Donation Buy Legislation? Lots of Cash Has been Raised for Rep. Stephen Buyer's Scholarship Foundation, but So Far No Scholarships Have been Awarded". CBS News. 
  21. ^ a b Justin Elliott (October 13, 2009). "Despite Denials, Buyer Has Close Ties To Questionable Charity". TPMMuckraker. 
  22. ^ David Smith (October 11, 2009). "Rep. Buyer-linked foundation draws attention". Journal & Courier. 
  23. ^ Trent Wright (October 14, 2009). "Buyer responds to claims". Monticello Herald Journal. 
  24. ^ http://www.citizensforethics.org/node/43950
  25. ^ Complaint Terminated by the Office of Congressional Ethics, WISH-TV
  26. ^ "Washington's Top 200". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2009-11-12. 
  27. ^ "The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Annual Report, 2007". Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  28. ^ a b c "Politics & Government: Buyer’s Family Ties". Indianapolis Star. November 1, 2009. 
  29. ^ David Smith (October 30, 2009). "Congressman's son working for lobbyist". Journal & Courier. 
  30. ^ "Purdue University Directory". Purdue University. Retrieved October 14, 2012. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jim Jontz
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 5th congressional district

1993 – 2003
Succeeded by
Dan Burton
Preceded by
Mark Souder
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th congressional district

2003-2011
Succeeded by
Todd Rokita
Political offices
Preceded by
Chris Smith
New Jersey
Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee
2005 – 2007
Succeeded by
Bob Filner
California