Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh, a former member of the Senate Banking Committee, had a series of private meetings with financial service industry executives and lobbyists just as the big banks were seeking a bailout in 2008.
On Oct. 1, 2008, the same day the Senate voted to approve the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, Bayh had on his schedule an event called "Lunch with Supporters" that included lobbyists for the financial services industry, Politico reported.
During his tenure in the Senate, Bayh raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the financial services industry and Wall Street firms while supporting many of the legislative measures they pushed, including the bailout bill. The investment firm Goldman Sachs and its employees were Bayh's top donors during his Senate career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group. CNO Financial Group and Morgan Stanley also ranked in the top five of Bayh's career donors, according to CRP.
The former senator, now running in 2016 to retake his old seat, had other meetings with financial industry officials and lobbyists leading up to and following the bailout vote.
Bayh's spokesman defended his decision to take part in the Oct. 1 lunch, saying that Indiana jobs were on the line and that it was appropriate to be with representatives of companies like Wachovia, Prudential, and Mass Mutual.
After Bayh left the Senate in 2011, he joined the board of the Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank, which received $3.4 billion from the bailout that Bayh had voted for. Fifth Third Bank repaid the money with interest.
According to his financial disclosure form, Bayh has ties to Apollo Global Management, which paid him $2 million in 2015-2016, Politico noted. Bayh's aides said that the Senate candidate would cut ties to the New York-based investment firm if he wins his Senate race.
Bayh is running against Republican Todd Young, who has criticized his Democratic opponent on the campaign trail for supporting the bailout, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.