Santorum: Vander Plaats said 'he needed money to promote the endorsement'
December 22nd, 2011
06:00 AM ET
2 years ago

Santorum: Vander Plaats said 'he needed money to promote the endorsement'

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - One of the most influential Christian leaders in Iowa told Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum "he needed money to promote the endorsement" of the candidate, Santorum told CNN on Wednesday.

The conversation between Santorum and Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the Iowa-based The Family Leader, happened before Vander Plaats personally endorsed Santorum on Tuesday.

"What he talked about was he needed money to promote the endorsement and that that would be important to do that," Santorum said, referring to Vander Plaats.

Yet the candidate added: "There was never a direct ask for me to go out and raise money for it."

The candidate spoke to CNN after a campaign event in Fairfield, Iowa. It appears to be his first detailed, public comments on the issue that was first reported by The Des Moines Register on Tuesday.

The candidate said he last spoke with Vander Plaats over the weekend.

On Tuesday, Vander Plaats personally endorsed Santorum. The Family Leader did not endorse a candidate as an organization.

The group holds sway over many Iowa social conservatives. Vander Plaats' personal nod is among the most coveted among candidates seeking support from those conservatives – a crucial voting bloc in the state's Jan. 3 caucuses.

Hours after the endorsement, the Des Moines Register reported "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 Register quoted Vander Plaats saying in a phone interview: "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.

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

CNN pressed Santorum on exactly what Vander Plaats asked for.

"He didn't say, 'Well I need X dollars from you' or anything like that. No," Santorum said.

Wednesday morning, during an interview with CNN's "American Morning," Vander Plaats said he did not directly ask Santorum for money.

"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 said. "We would never ask a campaign or a candidate for funds. Especially when you do a personal endorsement."

During the interview, Vander Plaats added: "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."

– CNN's Chris Welch contributed to this story.

Also see:

Ron Paul defensive over past newsletters

Gingrich to Romney: Let's meet in the kitchen

Pro-Romney super PAC slams Gingrich


Filed under: 2012 • Bob Vander Plaats • Iowa • Rick Santorum
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. John

    Sound like blackmail to me.

    December 22, 2011 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  2. Marie MD

    Give it up overpopulator. You have no chance, Zero, nada, zilch! Go back home and stop having so many kids in an overpopulated world!

    December 22, 2011 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    While it is fun to watch the lack of presidential qualities in the republican candidates for president this year, it is frightening that one of those idiots will be running against President Obama.

    December 22, 2011 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Didn't Michele Bachmann also have to buy votes to win the straw poll last year? I guess it is just a republican thing.

    December 22, 2011 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    With attacks on each other further dividing the republican brand of idiocy, it is hard to believe that any republican could unite the party, let alone the country.

    December 22, 2011 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  6. Namryan

    Well, you can call it whichever name, but you still bought the endorsement!

    December 22, 2011 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  7. Jules

    So he went to the guy that needed the endorsement the most. Money, Money, Money – it's a rich man's world.

    December 22, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Rick, I am not sure that attacking people who do not share your religious beliefs is an effective way of uniting the country.

    December 22, 2011 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  9. T'sah from Virginia

    Ya'll Crooked – All of the PACs are created only to BLAST candidates and make money. Sarah did it for years and all of her followers fell for it. Where did it get them? She BAILED out just at the right time before anyone truly noticed.

    All PACs should be eliminated................PERIOD!! Let the PEOPLE elect the officials!!

    Obama 2012

    December 22, 2011 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Moblizing support for Santorum is like spitting into the wind. He won't win the nomination and couldn't be a VP nominee that would pick up any support around the country that would be of any use.

    December 22, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  11. johnmenacherjr

    ... So when do the silver coins get thrown in the temple Rick? What a joke this whole tea-publican thing is just getting silly and more! Sorry but if these two are saved I am mud!

    December 22, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  12. GOP = Greed Over People

    Too bad this Jesus freak it such a zealot, 'cuz I like the fact he pointed out to the "christian" leader that bribery is NOT a "family value".

    December 22, 2011 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  13. anon-i-mouse

    As much as I despise Santorum, this article sounds more like a witch hunt. It is very confusing, which makes me thing that there is a lot of spin going into this to try to make it look like more than it is.

    December 22, 2011 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  14. AutumnskyD

    If he didn't ask for money for his endorsement there's no story. If he did ask for money for his endorsement there's still no story because that's normal by today's standards, Either way there's really no story here.

    December 22, 2011 07:54 am at 7:54 am |