Eric Cantor, the GOP House Majority Leader, talks about shiny balls? Cantor has defended tax loopholes for bankers, hedge fund managers and corporate millionaires and billionaires. He complains that the Democrats' constant attacks on tax breaks for the wealthy is nothing but throwing "...the shiny ball out there..." In another conversation, Cantor spoke of "...the shiny balls of millionaires and billionaires..." The list of Cantor's contributors and supporters shows clearly, that Cantor himself, may have the shiniest balls of all in this battle!
As part of the 'shiny ball' battle, Cantor has vociferously fought the closing of tax loopholes for financial institutions. Evidence of his allegiance to financiers is reflected in his list of donors. In the 2009-2010 election cycle, Cantor reportedly received over $3 MILLION dollars from the millionaire and billionaire shakers of the finance, insurance and real estate industry.
While Cantor advocates for Wall Street, he has seemed to effectively juggle that with his Tea Party affiliation. Cantor is currently both a crayon-carrying member of the Tea Party and a Wall Street suit lover. Political expediency at its best!
Another of Cantor's shiny balls in the battle appears to be ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. In 2009, Cantor received the much envied "Jefferson" Award from this far right-wing corporate group that promotes a dubious privatization and deregulation agenda throughout the country. High on ALEC's wish list is the destruction of the EPA, corporate-run schools and prisons and the repeal of all worker protections and OSHA.
According to ALEC, this prestigious award is "given annually to an individual who has established an exemplary record of accomplishment in advancing the fundamental Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism and individual liberty." Past winners include Dick Cheney, Mark Foley, Newt Gingrich, part-time Texas prophet and Governor Rick Perry and George W. Bush. Even the much-revered Governor Scott Walker is a member of ALEC! Noted ALEC alumni include Tom Delay and Donald Rumsfeld. Among some of ALEC's most highly recognized corporate members are the Koch brothers, Exxon-Mobil, Pfizer, AT&T, State Farm Insurance, Coors, etc.
Cantor, the GOP Congressional representative from Virginia's 7th district, is the man with the dark hair and glasses who is usually pictured standing behind GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner, often with a look of freshly-steeped Tea Party envy written all over his face! It is no secret that Cantor wants Boehner's job. Even Frank Luntz, the politcal word art guru for the Republican party has said, "If God really does exist, Eric Cantor will become Speaker of the House."
Cantor won his 2010 election to Congress with 138,209 total votes, yet garnered over $10 MILLION dollars in campaign contributions, with the majority being from giant corporations that were not based in Cantor's district. That is alot of shiny balls in the "tax the wealthy" battle! Not to mention that Cantor, from a relatively small Congressional district, is one of the most powerful men in the entire U.S. Congress.
Whose shiny, big balls have made him so powerful?
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the following names show up as contributors (notations in parentheses provided by this author) :
- Goldman Sachs (Cantor's wife was a Vice-President for Goldman Sachs from 1985-1990)
- Altria Group (Phillip Morris' parent company and member of ALEC)
- Dominion Resources (power and energy company)
- SAC Capital Advisors (hedge fund manger)
- KKR & Co (assets management)
- Comcast Corp (cable, internet, entertainment)
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield
- Elliott Management (hegde funds management)
- McGuireWoods LLP (from their website: With approximately 900 lawyers and 19 strategically located offices worldwide, McGuireWoods uses client-focused teams to serve public, private, government and nonprofit clients from many industries including automotive, energy resources, health care, technology and transportation.)
- Capital One Financial
- MacAndrews & Forbes (investment company)
- New York Life Insurance (life insurance, annuities, mutual funds)
- Las Vegas Sands (resort hotel conglomerate)
- CCA Industries (Corrections Corp. America--private prisons and member of ALEC seeking to privatize prisons nationwide)
- Affiliated Managers Group (acquires majority interests in mid-sized investment management firms)
- JPMorgan Chase & Co
- Pfizer Inc (member of ALEC)
- Credit Suisse Group (international financial services group)
- Genworth Financial (international financial management)
- Blackstone Group (asset management company)
Also according to the Center for Responive Politics, Cantor's top 20 Industry Contributors 2009-2010 election cycle were:
- Securities & Investment $1,235,878
- Real Estate $618,197
- Insurance $612,275
- Health Professionals $449,000
- Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $340,800
- Retired $340,385
- Lobbyists $335,100
- Lawyers/Law Firms $332,010
- Pro-Israel $249,270
- Electric Utilities $243,098
- Misc Finance $243,089
- Computers/Internet $201,250
- Misc Manufacturing & Distributing $192,825
- Commercial Banks $187,350
- TV/Movies/Music $185,200
- Oil & Gas $180,900
- Retail Sales $180,050
- Health Services/HMOs $162,000
- Hospitals/Nursing Homes $142,750
- Food & Beverage $137,700
The report continues to show Sector Totals:
- Finance, Insurance & Real Estate $3,176,989
- Agribusiness $365,175
- Communications/Electronics $573,650
- Construction $220,500
- Defense $165,000
- Energy & Natural Resources $499,748
- Health $1,097,550
- Lawyers & Lobbyists $667,110
- Transportation $364,650
- Misc Business $1,186,716
- Labor $40,500
- Ideological/Single-Issue $369,633
- Other $411,201
Cantor's personal wealth has been estimated at up to $7 Million dollars. An interesting investment in Cantor's financial disclosure is a small $15,000 investment in a fund that would skyrocket if the US defaulted on its debt. Jonathan Easley wrote at Salon, on June 27th,
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