Campaign 2010

Apr 20, 2010

Fact Check: Former Aide Distorts Cantor’s “Starring Role” in Bush Bank Bailout

In today’s Washington Times, Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s former Chief of Staff Rob Collins attempted to alter the facts surrounding Cantor’s deep involvement in the 2008 Bush bank bailout. Despite Collins’ claims, news reports show that Cantor was “a strong proponent” and “played a starring role in pushing for the package.” Collins also claimed that Cantor had no idea how TARP would be implemented despite news reports that Cantor was, “deeply involved in the crafting of the bill” and “spent the better part of an hour explaining the intricacies.”



Collins: “Despite the lack of specifics, the Democrat-controlled Congress on Oct. 3 passed the Toxic Asset Relief Program (TARP) - a $700 billion program to address the financial crisis.” [Washington Times,  3/26/10]


Reality: Cantor “Played a Starring Role in Pushing for the Package.” According to Cantor’s hometown newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Six of the 11 House members from Virginia stood their ground yesterday and again voted against the $700 billion bailout plan. But Rep. Eric I. Cantor, R-7th, who played a starring role in pushing for the package, appeared relieved to have success after the surprise defeat of the measure Monday. "I'm glad it's over," he said.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/4/08]


Reality: Cantor “Given an Instrumental Role in Crafting the Financial Bailout Package.” According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, “Cantor is considered a rising Republican star; he's the chief deputy whip in the House of Representatives, and was given an instrumental role in crafting the financial bailout package.” [Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 11/1/08]



Collins:  “Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, has been attacked for arguing that he was "duped" in the process supporting the TARP. Some folks think he is trying to rewrite history. Let us assure you, he isn't; we were there.” [Washington Times,  3/26/10]


Reality:  Cantor Said McCain Had “Great Deal of Impact” On Passage of Bailout. According to the National Journal, “But without McCain, House Republicans contend, they would not have achieved the revisions that ultimately resulted in 91 yea votes from their side… House Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., said that McCain "worked the phones consistently, and he had a great deal of impact at the end of the day" on the bailout legislation. "He came to town and inherently knew where the people were on the issue," Cantor added.” [National Journal, 10/8/08]



Collins:  Claimed Cantor did not realize how TARP would be implemented saying, “Shortly after Congress acted and President George W. Bush signed the TARP, things took a sharp left turn.” [Washington Times,  3/26/10]


Reality:  Cantor “Deeply Involved in the Crafting of the Bill.” According to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, “The five who voted yes included Rep. Eric Cantor, R-7th, who was deeply involved in the crafting of the bill. He said House Minority Leader, Rep. John Boehner, asked him to head up a Republican working group last week that sought to write a compromise that could pass.  "What we've been trying to work on all week long is to essentially present a plan that lessens the burden on the taxpayer and make sure that Wall Street shares the pain to clear up the mess," Cantor said in a brief telephone interview yesterday.” [Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 9/30/08]


Reality: Cantor “Spent the Better Part of an Hour Explaining the Intricacies” of the Bailout He Helped Write. In a late October meeting with his district newspaper, Cantor, “The 45-year-old Richmond Republican, who represents Culpeper County and the rest of Virginia's 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, spent the better part of an hour explaining the intricacies of the deal -- and how the American economy ended up where it is -- at a meeting Monday at the Culpeper Star-Exponent.” [Culpeper Star-Exponent, 10/22/08]


Reality:  Month Later, Cantor Defended Bailout, Saying  “It Was Essential.” In mid-November 2008, Cantor launched into a full-throated defense of the bank bailouts in an interview with CNN. Cantor said, “What I'm saying, in the bailout that occurred in late September, had to do with a systemic failure in our financial system. And I believe that our financial system, the credit markets in this country, are much akin to a utility. So if we were to shut off the electricity in this country, everyone, businesses, families, small and large, would be impacted, the same way for credit. Everything in our society and in our economy operates on credit. We had to - it was essential that we had to get our credit markets moving again, so that people can access a loan to send their child to college. So that people could have a loan if they needed to buy a car or a house.” [CNN, 11/18/08]


Reality:  Cantor Touted In-Depth Personal Knowledge of Mortgage Industry in Supporting Bailout. In October 2008, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, published an article where Cantor touted his personal financial stake, experience, and knowledge of the mortgage industry as valuable when he decided to push for the bank bailout. According to the Times Dispatch, “Cantor, who handled real estate law at his family's Richmond law firm before running for Congress, still has a $250,000 to $500,000 stake in TrustMor Mortgage, a mortgage brokerage he opened in 1996. The company has eight offices around the Richmond area…"People come to Congress with a variety of career backgrounds. This just happened to be one I had some academic training in," said Cantor, who holds a master's degree in real estate finance from Columbia University in New York. Steve Baugher, executive director of the Virginia Association of Mortgage Brokers, which did not officially take a position on the bailout bill, said, "(Cantor is) sharp and he's certainly got a good handle on most business issues." [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 101/10/08]