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.