Breaking: McCarthy elected majority leader
— Robert Costa (@costareports) June 19, 2014
Today, House Republicans elected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as the next Majority Leader, starting in August when Cantor steps down. McCarthy was opposed by Rep. Raul Labrador, a second-term Hispanic Congressman out of Idaho who was looking to rally Tea Party and conservative members to stand up to the wayward GOP leadership.
Instead, the GOP replaced the 80th most-conservative House member with the man ranked a dismal 170th.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Electing McCarthy is a slap in the face to Virginia voters, conservatives, libertarians, and all Americans. Instead of listening to the voters, the GOP leadership decided to get even. McCarthy, who is currently the House Majority Whip, is a status quo moderate politician from California, endorsed by Cantor. McCarthy will likely inherit Cantor’s ties to big business.
McCarthy is already cozy with Silicon Valley, where many of his aides have moved in order to develop profitable relationships with the top dogs in the industry
Oracle donated $31,500 to McCarthy’s campaign and leadership PAC during the 2012 campaign cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, making the database company his fourth-highest donor in the last election. Microsoft gave $17,500 to McCarthy in 2012, and Google provided $20,000, up from $8,000 two years prior.
Brat, who ran as a constitutional conservative, defeated Cantor in the primary by highlighting the Majority Leader’s close relationship with big business as well as Cantor’s plans for amnesty. Brat voters cited Cantor’s lack of true leadership (20 percent), plans for amnesty (22 percent), and support for big government spending (23 percent) as the top reasons they opposed the Majority Leader.The result was a double-digit landslide, despite the fact that Cantor outspent Brat at least 20-to-1.
“I’m against Big Business in bed with Big Government,” Brat was fond of saying. It’s a message that resonates across political spectrums, even as diverse as the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements.
Cantor voted for the Wall Street bank bailouts (TARP), expansion of Medicare Part D, and debt ceiling increases.
However, the GOP appears to be turning a deaf ear to the people in favor of political profit:
Like Cantor, McCarthy has (wisely) offered financial aid to dozens of House candidates through his PAC, spending more than $2.4 million on fellow Republicans since 2006. The number pales in comparison to the amount Cantor’s PAC has doled out — $8.3 million to more than 500 candidates in the past decade — but McCarthy’s investments, combined with Cantor’s blessing, will no doubt help him in Thursday’s leadership election.
McCarthy has made bank by cozying up to big business:
Campaign finance disclosures show that donations to McCarthy, both through his campaign and his leadership PAC, come from many of the same industries as did donations to Cantor. According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, five industries— securities and investment, real estate, pharmaceuticals, health professionals, and insurance — ranked as the top five sources of campaign donations for both men, and in the same order.
On top of everything else, it seems that McCarthy is the top waster of taxpayer money in Congress, spending nearly $100,000 purchasing dinners for staff and colleagues. (Video: Approx. 31-minute mark).
As one columnist noted, the Cantor loss was a chance for Republicans to prove they are listening—to be “the people’s party.” Instead, the GOP leadership has proved once again that they are part of the problem, even while conservative members of Congress feel they have no real influence.
Cantor and his team have an incestuous relationship with big business that puts the priorities of Wall Street interests over the interests of Main Street Americans, and, unfortunately, it looks like McCarthy will offer more of the same.
No wonder Congress’s approval rating just hit another low.
The Washington Examiner has more:
Cantor helped usher the 2008 bailout to passage. He was the Chamber of Commerce‘s most important ally in reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank in 2012, and was expected to play the same role again this year. He voted for the insurers’ and drug makers’ beloved Medicareprescription drug bill in 2003, and for the Republicans’ pork-filled energy bill in 2005.
Cantor’s fundraising was all Wall Street and K Street. His campaign raised more than $2 million from political action committees. Combine his campaign with his ERIC PAC, which Cantor used to help elect other Republicans, and you’ve got $1.2 million in money from the “securities and investment” industry in 2013 and 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Employees, executives, and the PAC of Goldman Sachs, where Cantor’s wife once was a vice president, provided $100,000 to ERIC PAC and $27,000 to Cantor’s campaign. And of course, the good folks at Blackstone Group provided nearly $40,000 to ERIC PAC, and a league leading $66,000 to Cantor’s campaign.
As with his votes, Cantor’s fundraising record doesn’t reflect some personal obeisance to Wall Street—it was another dimension of Cantor being a team player.
Democrats, you see, have guys like Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York as their liaisons to Wall Street. Most of the senators and congressmen from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are expected to funnel money from Wall Street to the Democratic Party. Republicans, though, hold almost no seats in the New York City area. And so Eric Cantor became their Wall Street liaison.
Somebody had to be the House GOP’s guy on Wall Street, and with his wife’s background, Cantor made as much sense as anyone.
The relationship was a close one. “He rang the bell and they came” with contributions one financial lobbyist told me. Cantor’s old chief of staff, John Emling, is Citigroup’s co-director for federal affairs. His old communications director, Laena Fallon, now runs the communications shop at the Financial Services Forum. Other Cantor alum lobby for banks and hedge funds.