Iowa Wingnut Leader Wants Money for Endorsement

Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa wingnut group The Family Leader, just endorsed Rick Santorum for president — but now it’s come out that he was essentially seeking to be paid for that endorsement. ABC News reports:

An Iowa Christian conservative leader who bestowed his highly sought-after endorsement on presidential candidate Rick Santorum this week is now at the center of a controversy over whether he asked for cash in exchange for his public support.

Less than 48-hours after receiving the backing of Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the prominent evangelical group The Family Leader, Santorum disclosed that the prominent Iowan told him he needed money to make the most out of the endorsement.

And sources familiar with talks between the conservative heavyweight and representatives from several of the Republican presidential campaigns went a step further, describing Vander Plaats’ tactics as corrupt.

“Clearly the endorsement was for sale — without a doubt,” one source said…

But even Santorum acknowledged in an interview with CNN that money was among the topics he and Vander Plaats discussed last weekend ahead of Tuesday’s endorsement press conference.

“What he talked about was he needed money to promote the endorsement and that that would be important to do that,” Santorum told CNN. “There was never a direct ask for me to go out and raise money for it.” …

Though Santorum did not specify the dollar amount he and Vander Plaats discussed, multiple sources said he was soliciting as much as $1 million from Santorum and other candidates.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register this week, Vander Plaats said that it was his “ethical responsibility” to essentially put some money where his mouth is.

“You can’t say, ‘We endorsed you. Now see you later,’” Vander Plaats told the Iowa newspaper. “That’s not going to do a lot in the long run.”

But one long-time Iowa conservative activist told ABC News, “There is no way he could buy enough ad space in Iowa for a million dollars — couldn’t buy that much advertising in a week and a half in Iowa.”

ABC News has learned that Vander Plaats tried to solicit money for his endorsement during the last presidential cycle too. A former staffer for Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential bid who is currently unaffiliated with a campaign said Vander Plaats came to them seeking money for his backing if he supported the former Massachusetts governor.

“He wanted to be paid,” the former staffer said. “He was clearly looking for a paycheck. There was a conversation about him getting a title, but being a paid consultant was much more important.”

The aide said they offered him a title, but never seriously considered paying Vander Plaats. He ended up endorsing Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee over Romney.

It’s all about mammon in reality.


  1. raven says

    multiple sources said he was soliciting as much as $1 million from Santorum and other candidates.

    That is a nontrivial bribe there.

    With the word “Family” in their name, you can bet they are malevolent kooks on the far side of the xian lunatic fringes.

  2. wscott says

    When I post anything remotely political on FB, my Tea Party cousin usually replies with some barely-articulate rant along the lines of “Yeah? Well Obama’s worse!” But a week ago when I posted something about Santorum, my cousin’s response was “Hell, I’d vote for Obama before that nut.”

  3. TheAllen says

    “In an interview with the Des Moines Register this week, Vander Plaats said that it was his ‘ethical responsibility’ to essentially put some money where his mouth is.”

    It all seems pretty straightforward, really. Vander Plaats wanted Santorum to put Santorum’s money where Vander Platts’ mouth was. I don’t want to give it away but the book (and the subsequent movie) based on this event will be called “Frothy Mix and Money Shot.”

  4. Didaktylos says

    So clearly this Vander Platts creature isn’t high enough on the GOP food chain to get paid for this sort of thing.

  5. jamessweet says

    I’m having trouble working up much outrage over this. I doesn’t feel all that much different from just yet another paid celebrity product endorsement. I realize there’s supposed to be some extra integrity here, I know it ought to feel dirty to talk about the election process the same way we talk about retail marketing.. but I feel like that ship sailed a long time ago.

  6. Reginald Selkirk says

    He ought to have asked for a cushy job instead.

    Uh – do you think he’s stupid enough to believe that Santorum could win?

  7. d cwilson says

    What made him think that Santorum’s campaign even had $1 million in cash on hand? There can’t be that many people willing to donate to a sinking ship.

  8. DonDueed says

    Hell, I’d endorse Santorum for a million. Especially since my endorsement wouldn’t sway a single vote, including mine.


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