Currently under congressional investigation for insider trading, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) outspent his nearest challenger 45-to-1 and went on to win the Republican primary for Alabama’s 6th District.
Beyond the advantage of incumbency and a $1.6 million campaign war chest, the powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee also benefited from a four-man race that divided the conservative vote among his three challengers.
With 87 percent of the vote in, Mr. Bachus had won a commanding 59 percent, State Sen. Scott Beason had 27 percent, Judge David Standridge had 12 percent, and pharmacy technician Al Mickle garnered 2 percent.
Political analysts predicted a Bachus win was likely, given the divided field, his powerful chairmanship, and his impressive financial advantage.
According to AL.com, as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Mr. Bachus received a big infusion of funds from the financial services industry:
Bachus, who is in his last year as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, leaned heavily on the industry to help finance his campaign, including dozens of big checks that rolled in at the last minute from national political action committees.
Presently, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating whether Mr. Bachus engaged in insider trading by using nonpublic information to profit his personal investments during the 2008 financial meltdown.
As Breitbart editor Peter Schweizer revealed in his book,, Throw Them All Out, from July to November 2008, Rep. Bachus executed at least 40 well-timed trades that resulted in as much as $50,000 in capital gains. CBS’s 60 Minutes also reported on Mr. Schweizer’s revelations.
The insider trading revelations prompted Tea Party activists to oppose Mr. Bachus. Business Insider called for the Alabama Republican’s resignation, as did Andrew Breitbart.
Mr. Bachus will now go on to face Democratic nominee Penny H.Bailey. Given that Alabama’s 6th district leans Republican, Mr. Bachus will likely be reelected.
Still, the pressure that movement conservatives and Tea Party activists applied against an ethically-challenged yet powerful sitting Republican congressman sends a signal to all lawmakers, regardless of party: defy constitutional principles at your own electoral peril.