The old house Whip, Roy Blunt, was one of the most corrupt members of Congress. Now he’s turning the job over to Eric Cantor, his deputy, who is hip deep in the same interests that Blunt was, and one more besides: Golden Parachutes from the Bailout. That’s right, Cantor, favorite among the extreme right for blaming Pelosi for the first bail out vote going down, has a very personal interest in the bailout. How do we know? Let’s follow the money.
Eric Cantor’s leadership PAC’s donor list is heavy with private equity and the shadow banking system – as well as companies who make dirty energy and were involved with the frenzied building of the housing bubble. The shadow bankers, however, love him most: 13 large donations from employees of the Blackstone group head the list. You want to know why he hates mark to market rules? Because those rules are forcing Blackstone to admit huge losses. Its stock is down 75% since it went public in 2007. Not exactly a good investment.
However, let’s look closer at one of his all time leading donors: McGuire Woods Consulting. This is a corporation proud of repealing the Death Tax, on claims that it hurt "family farms." This research turns out to have, how can we say it dramatically overstated, the case. Still being attached to a lobbying firm that is proud of being head honcho of conservative strategies in Virginia and joined at the hip to conservative commentator Larry Sabato shouldn’t raise eyebrows. I mean, making the rich tax free is what Republicans do, right? Well, there’s more.
Well one part of what Cantor wanted from the bailout, one he blamed Pelosi for personally when it was stopped in the house, was "limits on executive compensation." Well, what limits were in the bill? Let’s ask the legal arm of that consulting firm:
Jeffrey Capwell, an attorney and partner with McGuireWoods LLP in Charlotte, N.C., said the limits that do exist on golden parachutes apply only to executives who lose their jobs because their bank fails or is taken over by the government.
The legislation, he said, doesn’t seem to address severance packages to executives whose banks are bought out — as occurred with National City Corp.’s sale to PNC Financial Services Group of Pittsburgh.
"That’s an important question for their interpretation. That’s not entirely clear," said Capwell, whose clients include banks that have accepted Treasury capital or are considering it.
He added that there are separate guidelines for voluntary versus involuntary terminations.
"These rules have been very carefully drafted," he said. "There is no guidance, literally. . . . This rule is not entirely clear and I think it was purposely drafted this way."
How convenient, given that McGuireWoods LLP represents companies receiving bailout money, that the new Republican Minority Whip has been receiving large donations from his firm for years. How interesting that on his blog he promises limits, but in the bill, there are none. A bill he didn’t just vote for twice, but went to the wall for, risking a partisan meltdown over to get it through.
In the wake of the election fallout, the Republicans have been asking what conservatism means. The answer, from this reloading of the chambers, is that it stands for the same thing it did before the election: coal, cash, corruption, and connections. They called it a bailout, and Eric Cantor, the new Republican Whip, is getting large hard money contributions from the law firm that is making sure that CEO’s can bail out of crashing firms in style. So don’t listen to what he says on his blog, unless he also says it in the proverbial smoke filled back room.