Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 30, 2012

Indiana’s ‘Maverick’ leaving the House

Rep. Burton retiring after 30 years

For the past three decades, Republican Dan Burton has represented large portions of central Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A staunch conservative, Burton had the ability to attract controversy during his 30 years in Washington, from the investigation of campaign finance, to vaccines and the administration of President Bill Clinton.

First elected in 1982 in the old 5th Congressional District, Burton was viewed as a long-shot in the Republican Party primary when he challenged former party chairman Bruce Melchert for the nomination.

“When I ran against Melchert, he drew the district for himself,” Burton said during a recent interview with the Kokomo Tribune. “I thought whoever won would serve for at least ten years, I never imagined serving for 30 years.”

Burton said in the 1980 redistricting, Indiana lost a seat in the House and he thought his chances to win had disappeared.

“[Melchert] took parts of five districts,” he laughed. “I was in the new district by a mile. I thought I might be able to beat him if I worked real hard. The [Indianapolis] Star said I ran a kitchen campaign and didn’t have a chance.”

Melchert relied on the political machine and Burton counted on knocking on doors and meeting people, he said. A third candidate was put in the race by the name of Ricky Bartle to be first on the ballot.

Burton said he went home on election night believing he lost the election.

“I got a call that we were winning in Hancock County by a five to one margin,” Burton recalled. “The Star had already declared Melchert the winner. We carried Tipton and Clinton counties.

“They beat us in Indianapolis, but we beat them in the sticks,’ he said. “It was the happiest political night of my career.”

Burton said the highlight of his political career was getting mercury removed from all but ten vaccines, believing it caused autism in children.

He is working now with a Florida doctor who believes chelation, putting minerals and vitamins directly into the blood stream clears arteries.

“I worked through the [Food and Drug Administration] on a blind study,” Burton said. “They tried to shut it down, we kept the study going.”

He said conventional cardiologists don’t want to accept chelation treatment and there is a still a long way to go and further studies are needed.

In his role as chairman of the House Government Oversight Committee, Burton helped expose FBI corruption that led to the wrongful conviction of Joseph Salvati, Peter Limone, Henry Tameleo and Louis Greco for the murder of Edward “Teddy” Deegan. Burton investigated the case for three years before the four were eventually found innocent and were awarded $102 million.

Burton said he got President George W. Bush to release documents in the case after agreeing to vote in favor of fast track approval of trade with Central America.

“Some of my regrets, I’ve been a hard-nosed guy when I thought I was right,” Burton said. “I took on the House leadership, I took on Newt Gingrich many times, he threatened to take away my chairmanship.”

Burton said there are things that took place behind the scenes that most people don’t know about - like when he battled the FDA, FBI and Justice Department.

“I was a fighter,” he said.

Burton said when he was first elected, Democrat Tip O’Neill was the speaker of the House, who he called the consummate politician.

“The first time I went down to the floor to raise hell, Tip was in the chair,” he laughs. “He controlled the place. Tip got mad about a freshman raising hell about spending. He had someone else take the chair and came down to the floor to raise hell with me.”

Burton said there was a congeniality among House members when he first took office.

“The leaders got together and solved the problems we had, like Social Security at the time,” he said. “Today it is a very caustic attitude toward one another.

“It’s not like it used to be. We used to go out and play in golf tournaments for charity. We knew each other, today it’s not that way. There is a lot of animosity toward one another, that’s why there is the loggerhead.”

Burton was known for his investigation into the suicide of Vincent Foster, a top aide to President Clinton.

“I will always believe until the day I die that we would find evidence that he was killed in that park,” he said. “He either committed suicide someplace else and was moved there, or that he was shot there.”

Burton had a police officer shoot at a pumpkin that was meant to represent Foster’s head and contends that guards at the Saudi Arabian ambassador’s residence across the street from the location would have heard any gun shot.

He was also known for referring to Clinton as a “scumbag” during an interview with the Star.

“I was at an editorial meeting and a reporter said I believed he was a scumbag. I never used that term, but I agreed that he was. They said I called him a scumbag, which I never did.”

Without a doubt Ronald Reagan was the best president that served during Burton’s three decades in office.

Burton said he doesn’t want to become a lobbyist when he retires Dec. 31, but is hoping to represent some companies that do international business or represent a foreign country providing advice and counsel on dealing with Americans.

“I’m 74 years old,” he said. “I want to make a little money and spend time with my beautiful wife. I know I only have another 10 or 15 years, so I want to smell the roses a little bit.

“It’s been a good ride, I have no regrets,” Burton smiled.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • NWS - Summer Fest 02 Russiaville Summer Fest starts Friday RUSSIAVILLE — You think you can knock a baseball out of the park? There's a contest for that. If you love to sing, there's an activity for that. If you're afraid to sing but know the words to your favorite song, there's an activity for that, too. The

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • July 2014 has been the coldest on record Veteran Indiana residents are familiar with the old adage as it pertains to weather: "Hang out, it's sure to change." And, change it has. Just 24 months removed from the hottest July on record in 2012, the National Weather Service announced late Thur

    July 31, 2014

  • Trial dates moved in Wagoner clinic drug case Trial dates for seven of the eight people charged in the Wagoner Clinic prescription drug case have been moved to Oct. 3. Several of the suspects including Marilyn Wagoner, the wife of Donald Wagoner, the former head of the clinics, were set to stand

    July 31, 2014

  • One injured in motorcycle crash A 50-year-old man suffered chest injuries when he crashed his motorcycle at Washington and Lafountain streets Wednesday afternoon. A Kokomo Police Department accident report stated Tommie Barger of Kokomo was driving a 1983 Honda 1100 south on Lafoun

    July 31, 2014

  • Waterford Place looking to expand More senior living options could be on the way in Kokomo. Waterford Place Health Campus, located in the 800 block of St. Joseph Drive, is looking to expand with 11 new senior duplexes after receiving approval from the Kokomo Plan Commission’s plat co

    July 31, 2014

  • BMV offering driver tests in 11 languages INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is now offering drivers tests in 11 languages other than English that are spoken across Indiana. BMV Commissioner Don Snemis said Wednesday the decision was made at the urging of businesses, un

    July 31, 2014

  • Tionna Brown 02 Kokomo celebrates Tionna Brown's gold medal victories Little boys with pretend gold medals around their necks fought Wednesday to get their pictures taken with a pint-sized superstar who had won three real gold medals for herself. Twelve-year-old Tionna Brown just returned from Texas after competing in

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • KFD Rescue 2 Staffing changes leave Kokomo Fire Department with one rescue truck

    A shift in how the Kokomo Fire Department is staffed and responds to calls has some firefighters worried they will not have access to all the equipment they need. City officials, however, maintain there will be no change in the quality of service pro

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kokomo Police officers reach out to public Tuesday Kokomo police will be out in full force Tuesday in area neighborhoods. In addition to their regular patrols, officers will be out getting to know residents and the issues they may have as part of National Night Out, a crime prevention event. National

    July 30, 2014

  • Feds cite Indiana Medicaid fraud unit over notices INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal agency found that the Indiana attorney general's office didn't give proper notice in nearly a quarter of the Medicaid fraud cases it helped prosecute in recent years. A report from the Department of Health and Human Serv

    July 30, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.