WASHINGTON – Former Maryland Rep. Robert Bauman was back in the Capitol Thursday for the first time since a 1980 sex scandal forced him from office.
But Bauman said he does not plan to make a habit out of visits to his old stomping grounds.
“It sure doesn’t give me any feeling that I want to be back,” Bauman said, after watching some more of the long and frustrating legislative process he was forced to leave behind.
Bauman was a Republican congressman from the Eastern Shore and chairman of the American Conservative Union in 1980 when he was charged with paying to perform oral sex on a 16-year-old boy. The charge of solicitation was dropped after Bauman completed a six-month alcohol rehabilitation program.
At the time, he blamed his indiscretion on alcohol and homosexual tendencies and refused to leave office or drop out of the 1980 campaign. Voters did the job for him, electing Democrat Roy Dyson to the 1st District seat.
In 1982, Bauman tried to mount a comeback, but he dropped out of that race claiming he could no longer deal with personal attacks brought against him during the campaign.
Bauman, who now lives in Florida, said he came back Thursday only to testify before the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services because he strongly disagrees with proposed legislation to regulate offshore bank accounts.
A committee spokesman said the bill, which Committee Chairman James Leach, R-Iowa, plans to introduce, is aimed at cutting into money laundering operations by limiting the relationship between U.S. banks and offshore banks. Spokesman David Runkel said offshore banks are involved in money laundering but “offer no services to residents.”
But Bauman, who has written several books on offshore banking, argued to the committee that money-launderers are not the only people using these types of accounts and that the bill would punish innocent depositors.
“If a customer of a bank in an offshore haven nation engages in an illegal money-laundering transaction, this is no justification for punishing all legitimate, law-abiding bank customers, as well as the bank itself and the entire nation in which the bank is located,” Bauman testified Thursday.
Runkel said Bauman contacted Leach and asked to testify on the bill. In response to the request, Runkel said, and “as a courtesy to a former member of Congress, the chairman invited him to testify.”
It was not the first time Bauman has asked to come back to Congress. In 1995, he asked officials of a House education subcommittee if he could testify on the need for sex education programs in schools to include a discussion of homosexuality. But his request to testify then was denied, Bauman said.
He was quoted in a November 1995 article in The Hill as saying he was “a good example of what happened when no information is provided about homosexuality. It ruined my career.”
For the past 10 years, Bauman has lived near his daughter outside of Daytona Beach, Fla. He said he writes books and articles on offshore banking out of his home there.
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