Robert E. Bauman, the former Eastern Shore congressman whose much-publicized arrest for conduct with a male prostitute in 1980 effectively ended a once-flourishing conservative political career, left Maryland nearly 20 years ago and now resides in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He turned 72 yesterday.
"I went through a lean period when no one would touch me with a 10-foot pole," he said, adding that he did have a few friends. "President [George H.W.] Bush was very friendly to me. We've been friends since I was a congressional page ... and he was a congressman from Houston."
He credits two allies, former Illinois Rep. Edward J. Derwinski, who later served as secretary of veterans affairs, and Robert Kephart, a figure in libertarian publishing circles, with help during his most difficult period.
Derwinski gave him legal work in the VA. "He was the man who made it possible," he said. "It was politics and it was friendly to me."
Today Bauman is senior writer and a founder of the Sovereign Society's Offshore A-Letter, an online publication. Among his recent books is Where to Stash Your Case: Tax Havens of the World.
He describes the Sovereign Society - in which he remains active - as having a "libertarian, conservative bent."
Bauman is also legal counsel for Agora Publishing's International Living magazine, which is based in Baltimore. "It's interesting work, and it pays the bills."
Though he lives in Florida, he says that "the Eastern Shore is the greatest place in the world." He also says that acknowledging his homosexuality "and getting out of the straitjacket of the closet was a liberating experience."
He has two sons, Edward Carroll and James Shields, and two daughters, Eugenia Marie and Victoria Anne. He remains close with them and attended a family reunion last summer in Ocean City. "There were 25 of us. It took two houses," he said.
He has nine grandchildren. He's planning on attending the First Communion of a grandson in Vermont next month.
He also works daily to overcome an addiction to alcohol.
"I haven't had a drink since May 1, 1980," he said.