Steve Buyer: Wikis


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Steve Buyer

Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th district
Assumed office 
January 3, 2003
Preceded by Mark Souder

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

Born November 26, 1958 (1958-11-26) (age 51)
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 (pronounced /ˈbuːjər/ BOO-yər;[1] born November 26, 1958) has been a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives since January 1993. He currently serves Indiana's 4th congressional district.

On January 29, 2010, Buyer announced he would not seek a tenth term to the House.[2]


Early life, education, and civilian career

Buyer was born in Rensselaer, Indiana. In 1976 he graduated from North White High School, where he had been class president.[3] In 1980 he received a B.S. degree from the 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.[3] He was elected to the U.S. House of Representative in November 1992, at age 33.

Military career

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.[3]

On March 20, 2003, Buyer said that "a need was identified, of which Congressman Buyer has the unique skill and experience to meet the requirements," to serve in Iraq and took a leave of absence from Congress.[4][5] Defense Department rules, however, 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 the offer Buyer made 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." [4]

In April 2004, Buyer was promoted to Colonel in the United States Army Reserve by President George W. Bush, at a White House ceremony.[6]

U.S. Representative


Election and re-elections

When Buyer first ran for Congress, in 1992, he faced three-term Democratic incumbent Jim Jontz in a district of twenty mostly rural counties in northwestern Indiana. The seat had been Republican for 16 years until 1986, when the incumbent retired and Jontz, then a state senator, was elected in the face of divided Republican opposition.[3]

In 2002, in the 4th Congressional District, new after redistricting following the 2000 Census, Buyer had five opponents in the Republican primary, including Representative Brian Kerns.[7] The face-off was a result of population changes in Indiana which reduced the state's congressional seats by one.[8] Buyer won with 55 percent of the primary vote, outspending Kerns $818,000 to $326,000. Kerns received 30 percent of the vote.[7]

In 2004, Buyer defeated three primary challengers, winning nearly 70 percent of the vote.[9]

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, his lowest percentage since his first win in 1992.[10]

Political positions

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.[11]

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

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."[12]

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.[13][14] 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.[15]

Campaign funds

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).[16] In recent years, his largest corporate donors have included Eli Lilly, AT&T and Reynolds American.[17]


On January 29, 2010, Buyer announced his retirement from Congress. In his statement, he referenced his wife's "terminal" incurable auto-immune illness, and stated his wife was under doctor's orders to "de-stress her life". Buyer stated, "It is in my family's best interest for me to complete my service to the nation in military uniform and Congress." His resignation shortly followed the news that an ethics watchdog group, CREW, had requested his investigation by the IRS and the Office of Congressional Ethics due to concerns surrounding The Frontier Education Foundation.[18][19]

Committee Assignments

Frontier Education Foundation

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 it moved out 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]

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.[21] 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.[22]

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 Co.. Buyer said the foundation would need to raise at least $1 million to become self-sustaining; it would then begin awarding scholarships.[23]

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."[24]

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

Personal and family

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]


  1. ^ "Pronunciation of Steve Buyer". inogolo. Retrieved 2009-10-31. 
  2. ^ WISH Staff (January 29, 2010). "Rep Buyer: “I plan to complete my term"". WISHTV 8. 
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b Maureen Groppe (June 15, 2003). "Buyer: Thanks, But No Thanks". Indianapolis Star. 
  5. ^ "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" 
  6. ^ "U.S. Rep. Buyer Receives Reserve Promotion". United Press International. May 1, 2004. 
  7. ^ a b Maureen Groppe (July 16, 2009). "Buyer outspent Kerns 2.5-1, new reports show". USA Today. 
  8. ^ Lloyd de Vries (May 8, 2002). "Incumbents Ousted In Primaries". CBS News. 
  9. ^ "Incumbent congressmen win, will run in November". Courier & Journal (Associated Press). May 5, 2004. 
  10. ^ "Baron Hill's win over Mike Sodrel most expensive". Indianapolis Star. December 6, 2008. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ "Buyer has unique perspective on torture ban", Tom Walker/Washington Bureau Chief, WTHR, Channel 13, Indianapolis
  13. ^ MSNBC report
  14. ^ TDS report
  15. ^ "GovTrack: House Record: FAMILY SMOKING PREVENTION AND TOBACCO CONTROL ACT (111-h20090612-18)". GovTrack. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  16. ^ Center for Responsive Politics
  17. ^ Center for Responsive Politics
  18. ^
  19. ^
  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. ^ David Smith (October 11, 2009). "Rep. Buyer-linked foundation draws attention". Journal & Courier. 
  22. ^ Trent Wright (October 14, 2009). "Buyer responds to claims". Monticello Herald Journal. 
  23. ^ Mary Beth Schneider and Maureen Groppe (October 18, 2009). "Rep. Buyer's scholarship fund hasn't helped a single student; Steve Buyer defends his scholarship foundation, which has yet to help a single student". Indianapolis Star. 
  24. ^ Fredreka Schouten and Paul Overberg (June 10, 2009). "Lobbyists unlimited in honoring lawmakers". USA Today. 
  25. ^
  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. 

External links

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 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
Chris Smith
New Jersey
Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee
2005 – 2007
Succeeded by
Bob Filner
United States order of precedence
Preceded by
Ken Calvert
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Corrine Brown


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