Vander Plaats reportedly asked for help raising money to promote his endorsement of Santorum
December 21st, 2011
02:00 PM ET
2 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. The Real Tom Paine

    I am SHOCKED, SHOCKED, that an evangelical leader would attempt to use this occaision to line his own pocket!

    December 21, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Didn't I just ask this question yesterday? How is it that non-profit, religous groups can immerse themselves so deeply into the political process and still manage to keep their non-profit status? They all appear to be way over the line to me. How can they openly sponsor candidates and sponsor debates and *not* be breaking the rules?

    December 21, 2011 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Teavangelicals are being sold to the highest bidder. That makes them you-know-whats.

    December 21, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. NameMorpunkt

    The Iowa Talabangelical leader.

    December 21, 2011 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Failure is the Republicon legacy

    Of course it's all about the money.
    Tevangelists and Repubs will do anything for money, and won't do anything unless there's money.
    A sick bunch of freaks.

    December 21, 2011 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. Niki

    Time for evangelicals to get behind the best Christian in the race. The one with strong family values: Barak Obama.

    December 21, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Darth Cheney

    Rudy, because they are conservatives and religious. Double sacred cows.

    December 21, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. NameMorpunkt

    The preacher lobby knows no bounds.

    December 21, 2011 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Jilli

    Wow, what a surprise a "religious" leader looking for a payoff. What a shock!

    When are religious people – particularly evangelicals – going to learn that they get used as dupes over and over again. You think they would have learned after the Bush admin wooed then screwed them.

    December 21, 2011 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. mk1

    I would bet anything that this group is tax exempt. Religious groups should NOT be tax exempt, especially when they stick their bigoted and racist noses into areas that they have no business being. If they do, their tax exempt status should be revoked immediately. I am a Christian and groups and people like these do not speak for me and actually make me ashamed of the Christian faith.
    Niki, I totally agree. If the GOP is looking for the family values candidate, they should seriously look at our President who personifies family values in the best way.

    December 21, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I would hope this will put the teavangelical tax exempt status in jeopardy.

    December 21, 2011 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    Did he want his payoff in dollars or little boys?

    December 21, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The teavangelical creed – It is better to have you line my pockets, because receiving cash beats giving every day.

    December 21, 2011 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. FIELD1stSGT

    What Church ordained this piece of manure. Heaven help us where did such dung as he and Obama with his followers manage to come into this world. You ever feel as if you have something unclean on the bottom of your feet. Well these people are prime examples. This is not the America I know that would allow such cankerous boils to rise.

    December 21, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Squigman

    Look at the crook. And he's hiding behind a bible. Who'd a thunk it?

    December 21, 2011 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. johnborg

    These mega-evangelicals are so contradictory... They use Christian theology to legitimize their power and keep the marginalized down. They make me sick.

    December 21, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  17. Bachmann-Turner Overdrive

    Wait. Are you saving that this evangelical "minister" is a hypocrite, or all evangelicals? Because you'd be right on both counts.

    If someone tells me they are an "evangelical," I know instantly they are a hypocrite, weak minded, and untrustworthy. In other words, they have significantly less to do with "christian values" than most other people, "christian" or not!!

    December 21, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Keyser Soze

    I'm sure that job creator, and former tax attorney, and non-politician Michele Bawkman will be leading the charge to make sure that all these Evangelical operation$ that are $o heavily involved in politic$ will lose their tax exempt status....right Rep. Bawkman????

    December 21, 2011 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. T'sah from Virginia

    LMAO

    ►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,◄

    Yea, right – He wanted that money to go Christmas shopping!!!

    Obama 2012

    December 21, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Wait, you mean a sanctimonious, hate spewing, hypocritical Christian fraud was trying to extort money? But how can that be? He loves Jesus. Must be the fault of the lamestream media for reporting it. Like it was their fault for bringing down that great man Herman Cain.

    December 21, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. anagram_kid

    Being the eternal optimist that I am l would like to point out that the story was not about Vander Plaats and Santorum getting caught having intimate relations with squirrels while dressed as characters from the Golden Girls, after huffing tire wipes in the church basement. Nope, none of that, just an after-life insurance agent soliciting money from a presidential contender. The fact that Santorum has no chance of getting the nomination makes this all the more humorous – all these machinations for nothing.

    December 21, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. anagram_kid

    FIELD1stSGT, I dare you to stand up in your church next Sunday and tell everyone in attendance that you compare other people to feces. In what chapter and verse did Christ use words like dung, unclean and cankerous boils to describe those he did not agree with? Are you a prime example of a Christian?

    December 21, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. jason

    bwahahahaha bho is the most christian candidate omg what are you comminusts smoking lmao thats the funniest post ive ever read on here by a ton.. thank you needed a good laugh

    December 21, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. Larry L

    Evangelical Christians are lobbyists. They should not have tax exempt status. Events of the past years have driven me to distrust all organized religion, but none more than Evangelical Christians. They seem to express more bigotry and hatred than charity and kindness. I suspect if Jesus really lived, his behavior would not resemble that of the modern conservative Christian.

    December 21, 2011 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  25. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    So Ricky... If you were to actually rise in the polls, what flavor would you be?

    My guess is Vanilla-nut!

    December 21, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
1 2