Source: Cantor staff error to blame for anti-incumbent super PAC donation
April 10th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
2 years ago

Source: Cantor staff error to blame for anti-incumbent super PAC donation

Washington (CNN) – A source close to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor tells CNN a staff error is to blame for giving $25,000 to Campaign for Primary Accountability, an anti-incumbent super PAC.

News that the Republican leader gave money to a super PAC dedicated to defeating several of Cantor's rank-and-file Republicans has angered many in the House GOP, and Cantor is now scrambling to explain his actions.

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The source close to Cantor says that Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Illinois, told Cantor that he was giving $25,000 to the super PAC in order to help fellow Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger in his primary fight with another GOP incumbent, and asked Cantor to match it. Cantor agreed, and passed on the directive to his political aides.

"What appears to have happened is the staff didn't vet the group before cutting the check," said the Cantor source. A second Cantor source later told CNN the same thing.

This explanation was first reported by Politico.

Cantor was already making questionable moves for a GOP leader by actively helping Kinzinger, a freshman close to Cantor, in a primary race against 10 term incumbent Don Manzullo.

In fact, the Young Gun Action Fund super PAC - started by former aides to Cantor and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy– ran $50,000 worth of radio ads to help Kinzinger defeat Manzullo.

But giving to the Campaign for Primary Accountability super PAC, which has been actively working to defeat GOP incumbents across the country, has upset House Republicans.

"That is just dangerous ground," one GOP congressman told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to speak more freely about Cantor.

"This is not what our leadership should be doing, taking out a Republican. I'm looking for words to describe this, it's just really aggressive," said the GOP lawmaker.

One GOP leadership source said Cantor's move could make it even more difficult than it already is to push rank-and-file Republicans to take tough votes on legislation in order to be a "team player" when their leader doesn't appear to be acting like a team player.

"Picking sides in incumbent races doesn't do us as leadership any favors," said the GOP leadership source.

Leo Linbeck, co-founder of Campaign for Primary Accountability, made clear in an interview on CNN's "OutFront" last week that the money Cantor gave went into their general fund used to try to defeat many House Republicans, like Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania and Rep. Spencer Bachus of Alabama.

"There's no earmarking of those dollars. They flowed in, we told everyone who the races we are engaging in," said Linbeck.

"We are delighted that the House leadership of the GOP shares our vision of creating real competition for entrenched incumbents. I mean, that's so forward thinking of them. You know, this idea that committee chairs and House leadership ought to actually have to compete for the support of their district. We applaud their foresight," he said.

The source close to Cantor says his staff realized their error in giving to the super PAC before it became public, and began making calls to the some 12 GOP congressmen his donation helped target.

Cantor sources said it's unclear whether he will explain himself more broadly by addressing the full House GOP conference when Congress returns from spring break next week.


Filed under: Eric Cantor • Fundraising
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Oh, so it's the fault of his staff. I get it. What a spineless clown...

    April 10, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The face of a true weasel!

    April 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Hammerer

    What this means is that the donation was not supposed to be made public.

    April 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    Nast idiot of GOP. Vote all of GOP out.

    April 10, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Thomas

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor should just become a lobbyist.

    Never trusted the guy and never will . He's been bought and paid for !

    April 10, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. The REAL Truth.. (not the imposter)

    LOL – yet the same folks are all over the GSA... gotta love the hypocrisy! And we have folks that want to give people like this the reins of the country. It's pitiful!

    April 10, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. once upon a horse

    wow you mean that they haven't found a way to blame this on Obama yet?

    April 10, 2012 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. cali girl

    oopsie on that one, just trying to cover your tracks. Think that was a Freudian slip?

    April 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    He was OK with it 'til they found out. ha ha ha ha ha

    Two-faced Can't or.

    Kick him out Virginia. He's nothing but trouble for the entire country.

    April 10, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Dave

    The Gop group of Cantor & Romney & the Kochs & Rove are doing everythig possible to Surpress the votes of the disabled, the poor, the blacks, the hispanics , the elderly & any other American Citizen who doesnt have the so called proper ID. They got their voting card RIGHT. These slimeballs Romney & co are SEVERLY UN- American by taking away peoples rights to vote in this Country. Bishop Romney may claim to be a decent man but we Americans no much better.

    April 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Larry L

    I've never seen a better representative of the elitist, slimy, self-serving political lifestyle. This preppie is yet another Tea Party mistake. You couldn't find a person less capable of providing the leadership our country needs today.

    April 10, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. flyinroom

    Eric Cantor is an embarassment. These are the types of activities that the public never actually gets to see. Let's hope that the voters in his district are made well aware of his rather dubious behavior. And then they vote for a Democrat...

    April 10, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Taylor

    Good, when you are evil things come to light.........

    April 10, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    They can kick the republicans out of the GSA. They are government employees. Not a party. Now it's time to kick the baggers out of our House of Representatives.

    April 10, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. ron

    WHat's all the crying about?! GOP knew he was a snake. Why are they surprised that a snake acts like a snake? oooooh, I get it. They only expected him to be a snake when it came to the "other guys". LOL You reap what you sow fellas!!!

    April 10, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. BLKMANinAmerica

    LMAO.........................right........................can you say DECIETFUL, NOT-TRUSTWORTHY and a back-staber. CAN'Tor hopefully will pay a price for this "mistake"..................code word for repuks = "I got caught and called out". repuks are disgusting!

    April 10, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    So he has poor control over his staff and they're off throwing money about willy-nilly? How fiscally responsible.

    April 10, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Hey! What happened to all of the conservative bloggers?

    April 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. mdn

    Republicans are well equipped to handle these situations. They simply ignore the facts. They not only dislike the Dems, but they are more than happy to eat each others young. Cantor is the true weasel. He claims that he didn't mean to send the money. If he can't hadle a simple donation going to the right place, I'm not sure that he is so well equipped to handle the country's problems.

    April 10, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. judy

    keep it up repos . We love when you treat each other like the clowns you are. Im sure it must be the presidents fault anyway. Vote all the repo clowns out. Obama 2012

    April 10, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    $25,000 is more than some of our young servicemen and women earn fighting a war. Kick his butt out, seize the money, and give it to a disabled homeless vet that gave limbs to give that rat freedom.

    April 10, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    don't worry FoxNews and other far righties will spend this to make it look like it's the Democrats fault somehow.

    April 10, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. GI Joe

    He's had a big knife in Boehner's back since day one. What a bunch of cut-throats. Is that REALLY what you all want making our laws for us? He is the one that added a loophole into the last bill so he could keep his buddies informed on insider trading. Look it up. He weakened the bill for his buddies.

    April 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Boo

    Is there anyone or anything these Republican idiots do not "vet?" First it's Palin and now this. And we should trust those money grubbing freaks in the White House? And they have the gall to bash Obama for Solyndra. I would say to them....Pot meet kettle...

    April 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. GI Joe

    He ratted out that young guy from Illinois too -– so much for the innocent looking young idiot.

    April 10, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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