Vander Plaats reportedly asked for help raising money to promote his endorsement of Santorum
December 21st, 2011
02:00 PM ET
3 years ago

Vander Plaats reportedly asked for help raising money to promote his endorsement of Santorum

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – One of the most influential Christian leaders in Iowa asked for help in raising money to promote his endorsement of Rick Santorum's presidential campaign, according to the Des Moines Register Tuesday. The request came prior to Bob Vander Plaats' announcement backing Santorum on Tuesday.

Yet the president and CEO of The Family Leader, whose endorsement was personal and not of his organization, vehemently denied any notion he would ask a candidate or a campaign for money.

"Absolutely not," Vander Plaats said Wednesday during an interview with CNN.

Vander Plaats' group holds sway over many Iowa social conservatives. His nod is among the most coveted among candidates seeking support from those conservatives- a crucial voting bloc in the state's January 3 caucus.

On Tuesday – hours after Vander Plaats personally endorsed Santorum the Des Moines Register reported it had confirmed "that Vander Plaats had asked for help in raising money to promote the endorsement."

The paper also reported: "Vander Plaats said he'd like to have the money to do television advertisements to promote his personal endorsement of Santorum, and he urges Santorum backers to contribute money for that purpose."

The report did not mention The Family Leader as a group being involved in the request.

During the Wednesday interview on CNN's "American Morning," Anchor Christine Romans questioned Vander Plaats about the report.

"We would never ask a candidate – and by the way, when you endorse Rick Santorum you probably should also know that you're not asking for $1 million," Vander Plaats responded. "We would never ask a campaign or a candidate for funds. Especially when you do a personal endorsement."

The Register quotes Vander Plaats on the key question: about requesting fundraising help to promote the endorsement.

In a phone interview, Vander Plaats told the paper: "That's part of our ethical responsibility. You can't say, 'We endorsed you. Now see you later.' That's not going to do a lot in the long run."

"Our endorsement by the board and through [The Family Leader vice president] Chuck [Hurley] and me was all on the merits of the candidates, not on the funds the campaigns could do," Vander Plaats reportedly added.

During the CNN interview, Vander Plaats said: "Now my job is going to be to try to mobilize a network of supporters. If I can raise funds to help out Rick Santorum, I'm going to raise funds to help out Rick Santorum. But we're going to do everything in the next 13 days to get the vote out for Rick Santorum."

"We believe Iowa is going to break late and it's going to break fast," Vander Plaats said. "I believe [Santorum] has that opportunity to be the surprise on January 3."

In recent days before the endorsement of Santorum, there was chatter among rival GOP campaigns about the exact nature of Vander Plaats' request, sources tell CNN.

Santorum's National Communications Director, Hogan Gidley said, "I don't know about the discussions other campaigns had, but we never agreed to raise a single penny. We're focused on our own campaign and that's where our resources will be spent."

–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter:@ShanTravisCNN

Also see:

Iowa faith leader asked Bachmann to consider dropping out, campaign says

Poll: Paul in top spot in Iowa GOP battle

Romney defends negative ads

Gingrich: Super PAC hypocrisy


Filed under: 2012 • Bob Vander Plaats • Rick Santorum
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    A teavangical asking for money? Shocked. (not)

    December 21, 2011 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. Nevis Mn

    He's following a long line creeps. Lock up your ten year old boys.

    December 21, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Failure is the Republicon legacy

    Field1giest~ the America you seem to know never existed, go back to where ever you were pinched out of.

    December 21, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. SPLAT!~

    Poor Bobby VanderPutz, trying to be relevant.......again. And failing......again. Don't step in the santorum on your way out!~

    December 21, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. Grady

    the sign of the fish doesn't always mean you will be treated honestly...

    December 21, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Independent_me

    Evangelical "Christians" are not Christians at all – they are simply American Talibans and the Inquisition rolled up in one. They spread hate and teach their followers that hatred and bigotry are Christian virtues. If Jesus Christ were alive and preaching today, they would excoriate him and crucify him because he would be hanging out with "sinners" (gays and lesbians, and anyone else that these devils deem to be unchristian.) They have fooled many good people and they even get people to vote against their own self-interest! They are nothing but lobbyists!

    December 21, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Independent_me

    Evangelicals persecute anyone who is different from them...and then they claim to be the ones who are persecuted...

    December 21, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The paper also reported: "Vander Plaats said he'd like to have the money to do television advertisements to promote his personal endorsement of Santorum, and he urges Santorum backers to contribute money for that purpose."

    A new angle to evangelical panhanding? Might have a new trend here, folks.

    (And Jesus Wept.)

    December 21, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. hypatia

    When are these fundie idiots ever going to understand that their Sharia ain't gonna play?

    December 21, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. bp

    For Dutch Calvinists like Vander Plaats, it always comes down to money. In the enclaves around Pella & Sioux County, follow the money. You'll find NW Iowa full of Dutch like Vander Plaats preaching righteousness, but curiously silent about the number of illegal immigrants providing the labor for the profitable hog operations.

    December 21, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. MS

    Eww he's got Santorum all over him.

    December 21, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. FRANK - LAS VEGAS

    The Iowa caucus can't get here soon enough because after the vote the field will get much much smaller, they will be dropping like flies and the field will look like this.

    Paul – Still around
    Romney – Still around
    Newt – Still around
    Bachmann – GONE
    Santorum – GONE
    Perry – GONE

    The field will still be full of crazy's, just not quite as many of the.

    December 21, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  13. Mike B

    If my last name was Santorum, I would change it immediately.

    December 21, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. steven harnack

    Aren't these non-profits acting illegally when they co-ordinate with the candidates? Besides that, it sounds like a classic shakedown to me.

    December 21, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. The GOP still doesn't get it!

    These so called "Christians", only see America as pure and white. Everybody else is either "going to hell", or don't have the real "American values". Let Vander Putz tell every not-so-pure (non-white) Service Member in Afganistan that they are not part of the pure America, and do not carry American Values but they can still vote republican if they want.

    That is why they pander to the hate-spewing republicans every single election cycle. The country has changed and they cannot stand it. And that is why in the last two elections republicans cannot get pass Iowa or SC. Why not try NY, CA or even AZ? Because they cannot handle reality.

    December 21, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. SaintM

    Vander Putz asked Santorum to quit the race, and Bachmann to do the same. His two personalities are at war with each other.

    December 21, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. LOST in Texas FOREVER and EVER

    somehow the far right will try to blame this on Obama too I bet. Thing is that tatic is not working as well lately.

    December 21, 2011 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
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