January 29th, 2010
02:09 PM ET
12 years ago

Indiana Republican announces retirement

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/29/art.buyer.cnn.jpg caption="Indiana Republican announces retirement."]

(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

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Texas Jack

    I am sorry for his wife and him, but all incumbents must go. If he wishes to quit good luck to him. Now America it is taime to take back control of the White House. Fire these people.

    January 29, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  2. hadelaide

    Buyer said: "I believe it is my family's best interest for me to complete my service to the nation in military uniform and in Congress". Of course, he wants to remain in the military so the TAXPAYERS can pay health insurance for his wife who has the autoimmune disease. These folks claim to be champions of small business, but will not go into business. They disparage government but want to continue in government to receive breaks that they want to deny to others.

    All the PACs, C-Street, etc. raise money but don't want to pay taxes. Where's the faux charity they provide?

    January 29, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  3. Lori in Texas

    Right. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact his "scholarship program" has given out ZERO dollars to needy students since it's inception. If it needs $1million in assets before giving away one penny to a student, why are they spending $20K for a golf outing that only benefits the politicians? Freakin' hypocrites. They think we're stupid.

    January 29, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. Sam Smith

    So, his wife has an incureable, terrible disease and he talks about politics? Either he is heartless or something is wrong here. And given the timing i have to assume just that!

    January 29, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. L Allen

    Sounds like Chicago Politics at work here . Destroy the competition. I expect we will see more of this in the comming days. HMMMMM

    January 29, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Robert

    Jesus, those Republicans are 'running for the hills.'

    January 29, 2010 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. martin

    Everybody's missing the bigger picture here. It's obvious that the foundation has very high standards, and has yet to find anyone worthy of a scholarship. I mean, they don't hand them out to just anyone who walks in the door. Let's give him credit for fiscal responsibility.

    January 29, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. Charlie in Maine

    "I believe it is my family's best interest for me to complete my service to the nation in military uniform and in Congress,"

    I belive it would be in my family's best interest if a lot more Republicans followed suit.

    January 29, 2010 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. RCLGuard

    OMG the republicans are "dropping like flies!" Remember that quote?

    January 29, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. B

    Only wish that more Republicans would step out of the way so we could finally get something done for this country.

    January 29, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. mk

    I have an incureable disease too, it is called .....living. 100% chance I will die. I predict he will take a job as a lobbyist in the Insurance industry, refuse health insurance coverage to some poor woman who has the same disease as his wife and live nicely off his charitable foundation that keeps 100% of what it takes in. Not a loss for my home state in the least. Now, IF we can just elect somebody with a brain......

    January 29, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. Laura, Boston

    This must have been a very difficult time for him. I hope everything works out for the best and his wife's health improves.

    Best wishes!

    January 29, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. rob

    Good. I don't even know anything about him... but if he's a Republican, GOOD!

    January 29, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  14. Steve (the real one)

    So, his wife has an incureable, terrible disease and he talks about politics? Either he is heartless or something is wrong here. And given the timing i have to assume just that!
    Can I safely assume you are also angry at John Edwards? He cheated and has a baby by his mistress all while his wive is battling an incurable disease!

    January 29, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Dieter Zerressen

    Quitting to spend more time with the family? Usually that means someone is about to be indicted.

    January 29, 2010 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Lori in St Pete

    We don't need "common business folk in office" Hugo. Government isn't a business, and business people have no business in government. The economic meltdown the U.S. has been experiencing of late is the direct result of a 30 years of business people meddling in and owning the government.

    January 29, 2010 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  17. Gary

    I wonder why he's retiring now after raising all of that scholarship money!

    January 29, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  18. Steve in Kentucky

    Whow. Republicans "Dropping Like Flies"

    January 29, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. Libertarian

    This isn't new news. His "foundation" has been under investigation for years. You'd think he would have actually TRIED to make it appear to be legit. He didn't even bother....now the money is gone and so is he. Hrmm....maybe he'll shack up on one of those Islands he throws his foundation parties on.

    So this brings a total of 16 Repubs retiring in 2010....I think.

    January 29, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
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