(CNN) – Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Indiana, announced Friday he would retire at the close of the 111th Congress, citing his wife's diagnosis of an incurable autoimmune disease.
"I believe it is my family's best interest for me to complete my service to the nation in military uniform and in Congress," said Buyer, according to a transcript released by his congressional office.
Buyer, 51, was first elected to Congress in 1992 and is a veteran of the first Gulf War. He is currently the senior Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
The announcement comes days after Buyer's non-profit group, the Frontier Foundation, came under fire from the Committee on Responsibility and Ethics (CREW), which accused the group of abusing its tax-exempt status. The organization filed complaints with the Internal Revenue Service and the Office of Congressional Ethics earlier this week, asking for an investigation "to determine whether Frontier has been operated for public or private purposes."
CREW complaint to OCE: PDF
CREW complaint to IRS: PDF
The foundation's mission is to provide scholarship money to Indiana students, but it has not given out a single scholarship in six years, according to tax records. CREW alleges that the group has instead spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on golf tournaments in the Atlantis resort in Florida and the Bahamas. The group spent over $20,000 on fundraising related travel in 2007 and $22,000 in 2008.
Buyer did not mention the controversy in his resignation announcement, but has said the foundation determined it needed to raise $1 million to sustain itself before it could award scholarships. That is not an unusual determination for a non-profit group to make, according to the Council on Foundations.
In his retirement announcement Friday, Buyer suggested he was confident he would be elected to another term had he run again.
"Politically, the easiest thing would have been to run again because of the wave that is coming for the American people to take back their country," he said.
The nine-term Buyer represents Indiana's fourth congressional district, which is located in the central part of the state. Buyer has never won less than 60 percent of the vote in any of his re-election victories. Sen. John McCain won the district by 13 points in the 2008 presidential election, and former President George W. Bush won the district by 39 points in 2004.
Buyer becomes the fourth Republican congressman to announce retirement rather than run for re-election this November. The other three are Rep. George Radanovich of California, Rep. Henry Brown of South Carolina and Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona. Eleven other House Republicans are running for statewide offices rather than re-election.
Meanwhile, six House Democrats have announced they'll retire at the end of the year rather than defend their seats. They are Rep. Dennis Moore of Kansas, Rep. John Tanner and Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee, Rep. Vick Snyder and Rep. Marion Berry of Arkansas, and Rep. Brian Baird of Washington. Another Democrat, Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida has already stepped down. A special election will be held in April for his seat. Six other House Democrats are running for statewide offices rather than for re-election.
– CNN's Lisa Sylvester contributed to this report
Next job–lobbiest–for health care company!!!
Indiana – Yey! Here is you chance to get Washington moving!
You've seen what's gone on this whole last year with the pathetic Republican Party - the Party of No!
You saw how your Republican Politicos rejected the President's call to tax the profits of the Banks that caused YOU to lose your house or lose your job!
You saw how your Republican Politicos squirmed at the thought of putting SEC oversight over the shady deals that let AIG to tank the economy!
It's your choice Indiana. You can believe your own eyes and ears.... Or you can choose to believe what these lying thieves are telling you.
One more down. How many left to go?
As I have said before... when the money runs out, so will our elected officials who have been in office too long
Great News, now if we can get rid of the lifers on both sides of the aisle and put some common business folk (not more lawyers) in office we may be able to correct our course. Our Nation has become so overburdened by Federal, State and local bureaucracy that we are unable to create commerce. Commerce creates jobs, not the Federal Government. Stimulus stimulates government jobs that rely on tax producers for their paychecks, that is not commerce. Relax the regs on environment, banking and industry and create a production based economy and not a consumer based economy if you want to pull out of this nose dive. I have to keep asking myself if it is not the master agenda to destroy our economy so as to implement Obama's ideological view of what America should be!
I guess he doesn't want to be part of the new majority come November. Oh well, I'm sure there will be plenty of good Republican candidates that will win come November.
It is good that he steps down after serving for 18 years. It is good to get some new blood in there. Personally, I despise politicians that stay there forever and refuse to impose term limits on themselves.
Oh another republican leaveing?Hmmm ok repubs lets hear how this is no big deal,you know like the dems leaveing means they are going to lose this year???seems this makes more repubs then dems.Ok spin away 3 2 1...............
Does that mean the GOP is reading the "writing on the wall" and knows it's going to lose seats in the mid-term elections??
"Its a massive GOP defection. It is clear that Obama's prowess and the Democrats rescuing the economy have forced the GOP into retirement. Such action is a referendum on the president's keen political acumen." Where is that headline?
Great news! Maybe we will get an honest person that will actually do something for his constituents. Besides he blocked Veteran benifits. In fact thats why he was put in office to block benefits for veterans even though he is a veteran. Remember when he whined about having to go to Iraq when in fact the whole story was false?
He is another cheat from the GOP......his Frontier Foundation is under investigation. None of the donations from Pharmas/ drug companies was used for needy children in Indiana; instead Buyer and buddies went to golf retreats.
The republican mantra" IT IS ALL ABOUT ME AND ONLY ME AND MY WALLET"
More rats fleeing the ship of fools...
Must have him "retirement nestegg" full and ready to become a full- time corporate lobbiest !!! ---- What`cha bet ?!?!
Is this the guy with the phony foundation? Getting harder all the time to keep the GOP crooks straight.
"And another ones gone, and another ones gone. Another one bites the dust:"
OMG run for the hills – a republican is retiring!!!! Are they saying the GOP is now falling to pieces? Oh wait, only the Democrats fall to pieces when someone retires... I'm sorry
Oh, another republican is retiring. The whole party is falling apart!
OK. So why no "sky-is-falling" headlines and angst about Republicans runnign for the hills. Seems to me there are slightly more Republican legislators leaving office so far than Democrats. But with the Dems its a retreat, while the Republican exodus is seen as ... hmmm... I don't think it's even been commented on.
If you listen to the Republican propaganda machine, one would think that only the Democrats have Reps and Senators retiring.
However, a little investigation reveals the truth...that far more Republican Reps and Senators have announced their retirement than Democrats.
Futher evidence of flat-out lying by Republicans, consumed largely by uninformed citizens, who clearly subscribe to 'ignorance is bliss'
Rep. John Boehner needs to follow Buyer into retirement since Boehner is using campaign money as a slush fund for his expensive golf outings.
Hope his wife gets better.
As an independant I am sad that his wife is ill but happy that he has decided to be at her side, good luck
I applaud his decision. This is a very difficult time and he has his priorities in order. God Bless.
Typical reuplician, they are the biggest crooks on earth. They used that money just how they wanted to and did not give out a scholarship for 6 years, now if that's not a crook I don;t know what is. What I want to know is why did it take this long to address this?
It would be nice to see what Steven did with all those charitable contributions that disappeared. Maybe he and Boner spent most of the scholarship money on golfing.