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Congress Alert

Eric Cantor Leaving US House for Wall Street Millions?


Eric Cantor Brookings

Did former US House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announce his resignation from the House so he can speed up private negotiations to make the big bucks in the financial industry? That is the suggestion of a new Politico article.

The Politico article also indicates that Wall Street is already knocking on Cantor’s door and quotes a “headhunter” who says Cantor has “relevant talents”:
Cantor has not made any public comments about what he will do next or if he has already decided his next move.

However, GOP insiders said Cantor has already been approached by a number of K Street lobby shops, companies and Wall Street firms, but has not engaged in any serious negotiations with any of these potential suitors at this point, according to several sources familiar with the conversations.

'He will have opportunities in the traditional Washington political world,' said Nels Olson, a top headhunter at Korn Ferry. 'I think he could have Wall Street, investment banks or private equity firms interested given his relevant talents.'

While Cantor would be widely sought after in Washington, he is more seriously considering potential hedge fund, private equity or big bank opportunities, according to sources familiar with his post-Congress thinking.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — who replaced Cantor as House Majority Leader and who Cantor described in his Thursday House floor farewell speech as “my closest confidant and my good friend” — pipes up in the article that Cantor “knows financial markets well.”

When and how did Cantor gain this knowledge that the Politico article suggests will help him land a million dollars-plus salary on Wall Street?

An answer to that question is not apparent. But, any Wall Street firm or firms that hire Cantor will not have to provide a justification that satisfies curious onlookers.

Likely, Cantor’s greatest asset for certain financial industry companies, as well as military-industrial complex entities that may throw him an additional hundred thousand here and there, was summed up by David Stockman in his article bidding “good riddance” to Cantor upon the representative’s defeat in the June 10 Virginia Republican primary:
In short, the [Federal Reserve] has turned Wall Street into a dangerous gambling casino and Washington into ceaseless fiscal auction. And that’s where Cantor’s real sin comes into play. Not once after the financial crisis did Cantor or the so-called establishment GOP leadership take on the elephant in the room. Never did he even remotely recognize that the monetary politburo ensconced in the Eccles Building has accomplished what amounts to an economic coup d tat.

Stated differently, financial repression, ZIRP, QE, wealth effects and the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen 'put' under the stock market and risk assets generally are not just a major policy mistake; they are a full-throttle assault on the heart and soul of conservative economics.

… [Cantor] has been an unabashed servant of the Washington War Party during his entire career. Time and time again, he helped whip the GOP rank and file into a frenzy of militaristic bombast about imaginary threats to America’s security in places all over the globe which are none of our business. That absolute nonsense of sanctions and unrelenting hostility to the regime in Tehran is perhaps the most egregious example.

So Eric Cantor made a career of milking the Warfare State and pandering to Wall Street. This brought him nearly to the top of the Washington heap. But in the end, it did not fool his constituents. And most certainly it set back the conservative cause immeasurably.
As a former House member and majority leader, Cantor will continue to enjoy special access and influence in the US government that may be particularly valuable for prospective employers.

Indeed, immediately following Cantor’s farewell speech, House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) immediately took the podium to speak regarding Cantor, largely focusing on the continuing influence and access Cantor will have in the US government. Hoyer stated:
I know that he will not be leaving the public community — the public square, that his voice will still be a voice of influence, and he will make a difference in whatever area he pursues. He will remain always a member of this body. He will visit us from time to time. We will welcome him back.
Find here and here RPI articles regarding Cantor’s foreign policy record.
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