Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
Frank Bernheisel
Posted 07.22.11
Just Outside Washington


Meet US Rep. Eric Cantor or, The best government money can buy

Meet US Rep. Eric Cantor or, The best government money can buy Congressman Eric Cantor, House Majority Leader, was elected to Congress in 2000 to represent the 7th District of Virginia. The 7th District runs from the west end of Richmond, including the suburbs in Henrico and Chesterfield counties, and extends northwest to include parts of Page, Culpeper, and Rappahannock counties.

In 2000, the district had a population of 643,499 of whom 79 percent were white with a median family income of $51,000. All in all, this is pretty conservative territory. Rep. Cantor, starting in 2000, supported the Iraq war and the tax cuts the President Bush proposed because the federal budget had too big a surplus. Congress projected $5.6 trillion surplus over ten years and President Bush said, "A surplus in tax revenue, after all, means that taxpayers have been overcharged. And usually when you've been overcharged, you expect to get something back."

Needless to say, they were wrong. The chart from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) shows what policies caused the current debt and the projected debt for the future.


Now, Rep. Cantor is the leader of the "young turks " who are going to solve budget problems by cutting social security, Medicare, food stamps, women's health programs, etc, etc.

Representative Cantor, where were you in 2001 and 2002 and 2003? Well you get the picture.

Last month, Salon reported that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is personally invested in a fund that "aggressively 'shorts' long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, meaning that it performs well when U.S. debt is undesirable."

Cantor owns up to $15,000 in the fund, which is called the ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20 Plus Year Treasury ETF. Cantor, who leads the House GOP's debt ceiling negotiations, would see his ETF rise dramatically in value if Republicans allow the country to default on its debt. And as Salon notes, Cantor recently broke off negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.

So, as my friend Steve says, "The Congressman is obviously working for himself, duh!"

Since first running for Congress in 2000, Eric Cantor has raised significantly more in campaign funds than the average member of Congress. In 2004, it was double ($1.25 million vs. $2.5 million) and in 2010 Eric Cantor raised approximately four times the contributions of the average member or almost $6 million. So where did the largess come from?

Well, for the 2010 campaign there are some leaders:

    Securities & Investment Industry

    Real Estate Industry

    Insurance Industry

    Health Professionals

    Retired Persons

Almost half of his contribution came from PACs. Also, half came from individual donors, a total of $2.6 million of which $2.2 million came from large donations.

An additional $2.5 million came from PACS. Much of Eric Cantor's campaign contributions came from outside of Virginia; 61 percent vs. 39 percent in Virginia. The states where the larger contributions came from include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, and New York.

It is certainly fortunate that Representative Cantor was able to raise so much money. This puts him ahead in the game; as Mark Twain said: "We have the best government money can buy."