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Bayhs build a fortune with separate, but overlapping careers

By Laurie Bennett

May 27, 2008 at 7:39am

Susan Bayh isn’t the only congressional spouse to sit on a corporate board.

But by our count, she’s the only one to sit on six corporate boards. (Jackie Clegg Dodd, wife of Sen. Christopher Dodd, is a close second, with five board seats.)

Bayh, a lawyer who previously served as a member of the International Commission and as a lawyer to Eli Lilly and Company, is married to U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Last year, she made more than $800,000 in fees, options and stock awards resulting from her board activities.

Bayh is a director of the following publicly traded companies:

  • Curis Inc. (NASDAQ:CRIS)
  • Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ:DNDN)
  • Dyax Corporation (NASDAQ:DYAX)
  • Emmis Communications Corporation (NASDAQ:EMMS)
  • Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc. (NASDAQ:NSTK)
  • Wellpoint Inc. (NYSE:WLP)

All but one of the firms - Emmis - is in the the health and pharmaceutical industries.

Evan Bayh does not sit on a committee directly dealing with health issues. Still, the possibilities for conflict of interest are myriad.

He casts votes that affect his wife’s companies, and members of the corporate boards have contributed to his campaign committee.

In December, Sen. Bayh told the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that his wife’s business interests had no sway over his votes, legislation or positions. “I look at what’s best for our state and our country and my own conscience,” he said.

Susan Bayh declined to discuss her corporate activities with the newspaper.

According to an analysis of financial disclosure filings by the Center of Responsive Politics, Evan Bayh is one of the wealthier members of the Senate. In 2006, he ranked 21st in net worth, which was estimated between $4.3 million and $11.1 million. (Disclosure statements indicate ranges of asset values rather than precise dollar amounts.)

The Bayhs also run the Evan and Susan Bayh Foundation, which had assets of more than $700,000 at the end of 2006.

Before winning a seat in the Senate, Evan Bayh served as Indiana governor and secretary of state. His father, Birch Bayh, was a U.S. senator from 1963 to 1981.

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