Source: Cantor staff error to blame for anti-incumbent super PAC donation
April 10th, 2012
02:00 PM ET
6 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. Another Day in the Idiot Mines (not the whiny rightwing liar)

    LOL! Typical GOBP cult thuggery. Their idea of "leadership" is a guy who is ready to stab anyone in the back doesn't go along.

    April 10, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Willie K.

    I agree with Cantor. Throw the bums (Republicans) out! Including him!

    April 10, 2012 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Wes B.

    The circus is in town, and the ring leader is on center stage!

    April 10, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Wvazoe

    Sure, blame the staffer. All republicans lie. They prove it everyday!

    April 10, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Arden Cogar

    Imagine Eric Cantor making a mistake and not being able to find a way to blame it on the President or some other Democrat. Guess he is losing it and should be replaced. Okay Virginia voters; do your civic duty and throw the inept clown out of office.

    Gotta love the way these jokers; i.e., Repubs eventually show their true colors.

    April 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Obviously he's cleaning house in an attempt to go after Boehner. What better way to do that than to have a group of ambitious younger legislators who owe their jobs to you? Nice to see the GOP continue to emulate the Communists in the Soviet Union.

    April 10, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    He TOLD the staffer to do it. ha ha ha ha ha

    April 10, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Kenny K

    Why are some campaigners getting paid while, at the same time, expecting others to volunteer?

    April 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. DAK

    What did you expect from the Republicans of today? For three (THREE!) years all they have done os lay blame, cast doubt, lie, cheat and steal at every turn. They have said "Don't trust the Government!" and now we see why... they ARE THE GOVERNMENT!!

    April 10, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Bonnie

    Obama did it, just like he drove up the gas prices. Right republicans?

    April 10, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  11. Is Mitt a Git?

    Glasser called Obama Stupid on Twitter. He did not call Cantor stupid on Twitter for this little blunder. What fools republicans are.

    April 10, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. Republican who supports President Obama

    They will eat their own if they would get votes. Proof again that the GOP in it's current state is not right for America. Time to change course.

    April 10, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Al

    He is a putz....and the rest of his caucus knows it. Blames a staffer....real courage in his leadership. I say again, what a putz.

    April 10, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. quinLee

    It takes a great deal of ignorance and hatred to not recognize these guys are doing everything in their power to help THEMSELVES while at the same time trashing every policy, idea, or thought aimed at helping the average American.

    April 10, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    The whole "Young Guns" thing cracks me up. Snide, spineless little turd like Cantor pretending to be a tough guy lol. I bet it's more like he watches the Young Guns movies with a bottle of baby oil and a box of tissues nearby.

    What? He cries at the end and his hands are dry. Sickos.

    April 10, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    Typical teapublikan thievery and then pretending that they dont know anything or didn't meant say something.
    Next earthquake in your region, district 6 VA, go out and have a bake sale to pay for damages you have denied other naturals disaster affected areas. Hypocrite!!!

    April 10, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Big Al

    Cantor is nothing but garbage. I hope he loses his re-election bid.

    April 10, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Chumlee

    Sure. Right. Cantor is such a piece of work

    April 10, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    CANTOR really can't and he NEEDS TO GO. He is nothing short of an imbecile.

    April 10, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    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.

    after a quick scan thru the Faux Snews front page and politics page.....I don't even see it. Have they covered it at all or will it be relegated to some hard to find spot on their site?

    April 10, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Cantor the teapublican bafoon stabs his own party in the back just like he did to his own state after the floods. You need to be and idiot to vote for any republican trash.

    April 10, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Dadster

    The only error that was made is that Cantor got caught and he is now playing the blame game.

    April 10, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Maxx

    Of corse we believe you Eric.

    April 10, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. d

    Amazed!! Not ! wow no one on board supporting cantor? he is a rat

    April 10, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. craig

    In a just world, his donation would be given to his challenger. Hey, that's what he wanted...I, we should follow his intentions, right?

    April 10, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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