Former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh is keeping his options open for his future as he holds onto about $10 million in campaign money. Bayh, who left the Senate two years ago, has no publicly stated plans for using that cash beyond providing aid to other Democrats.
"I'm helping others, but I'm going to keep my own options open for the future," Bayh told The Courier-Journal.
Federal Election Commission filings show that the Evan Bayh Committee reported $10.1 million on hand as of Sept. 30. Bayh's All America PAC reported more than $400,000 in its accounts.
Since filing those reports, Bayh has provided campaign donations to the Indiana Democratic Party, Democratic Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly and a few other Democrats, according to the ex-senator and the party.
Bayh left the Senate on Jan. 3, 2011, after deciding not to seek re-election after 12 years in the Senate. He is currently a strategic adviser for McGuireWoods LLP in Washington, a law and lobbying firm.
Bayh, who also served eight years as Indiana governor, declined to discuss what he might be holding onto his campaign cash for.
FEC rules allow a candidate for federal office to keep campaign money and use it in a bid for statewide office.
"I'd like to think at 57 I'm not ancient," Bayh said. "I don't know what the future has in store. So I haven't completely foreclosed the possibility of entering public life again. I'm not predicting that, but I'm not ready to rule it out entirely yet either. So that's the reason to keep the balance of the fund."
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said that Bayh donated $300,000 to the party in October for the campaigns of various Democratic candidates for the House and Senate.
Records show Bayh also has given the $10,000 maximum from his PAC to Donnelly's campaign. West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin was the only other Senate candidate to receive Bayh's PAC money, a $2,500 contribution, as of Sept. 30.
U.S. Army veteran Brendan Mullen, who's running for the U.S. House in Indiana's 2nd District, got $2,000 from Bayh's PAC, according to records.
Bayh also gave $30,800 in July 2011 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which distributes money and resources to Democratic Senate candidates.
While Bayh is keeping his campaign money at hand, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is closing down his campaign operations, FEC records show.
Lugar, who was defeated by tea party-backed Richard Mourdock in the May primary, had made $831,000 in refunds to donors by the end of June, according to his FEC reports.
Those refunds were required by FEC regulations because the money was raised for a general election campaign in which the senator is not participating.
As of Sept. 30, Lugar's campaign had raised nearly $5 million for the 2012 cycle and had slightly less than $77,000 remaining.
Lugar's 19th Star PAC has raised some money and given $12,500 to GOP candidates in the third quarter of this year. That PAC still had $93,144 as of Sept. 30.