The group wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to review whether Buyer violated ethics rules “by abusing a charity for private purposes and by trading legislative assistance for donations to the charity and a job for his son.”
Buyer created the Frontier foundation in 2003 for the stated purposed of handing out scholarships once the fund reached $100,000. The foundation has raised more than $880,000 — primarily from companies and trade organizations with an interest in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which Buyer serves.
The foundation hasn’t awarded any scholarships, which Buyer has said is because the foundation later decided it needed at least $1 million to be self-sustaining. The foundation has paid for fundraising golf outings at luxury locales.
“It is not quite stealing from orphans, but it is hard to imagine something more callous than playing golf on the backs of poor students, at least one of whom surely could have gone to college on the money Frontier spent on Rep. Buyer’s golf trips,” said CREW executive director Melanie Sloan.
The watchdog group said Buyer has backed the interests of groups such as tobacco and drug companies that contributed to his foundation. Buyer opposed a three-year ban on advertising new drugs and opposed giving the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco.
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry trade association, hired Buyer’s son as an intern during college and gave him a full-time job after his 2008 graduation from Ball State University.
Buyer said last fall that he is being criticized for trying to do something good for students.