Sunday, August 03, 2008

Eric Cantor: NRCC Leader & McCain VP?

The Jerusalem Post story read "McCain campaign considers Jewish VP". However the picture wasn't John's BFF, Joe Lieberman, but a youthful looking Congressman from Virginia. The story said McCain's vetters requested personal documents from Rep. Eric Cantor.

I'm sure the topic of the National Republican Congressional Committee will be front and center. The investigative report shows NRCC Treasurer Chris Ward walked away with $725,000, although other accounts cite $500,000, much of it spent to improve his Maryland home. Representative Eric Cantor played a leadership role in the NRCC during the multi-year pilfering, 2003 to 2008.

A January 2007 press release highlighted Eric's Fundraising Chairman leadership role and importance to the NRCC:

"Eric Cantor has been a great ally and a committed supporter of the NRCC in previous cycles. He has the know-how and the contacts needed to help us raise the funds that will be vital in the next election cycle," Chairman Cole said.

As Chairman of the NRCC's Battleground fundraising effort, Republican Deputy Whip Cantor raised more than $30 Million for Republican candidates. Over the past 3 terms, Rep. Cantor has raised millions of dollars for the Republican Party and was the top contributor in the House to other Republican candidates last cycle.

In 2006 one of Mr. Cantor's peers, frustrated by the lack of any physical auditors, tried to get the NRCC Executive Committee's attention. The scandal was discovered some two years later.

Why does this matter to any member of Congress who served on the NRCC Executive Committee? Sarbanes-Oxley. Eric Cantor was one of 423 members of the House voting "aye" for the fraud busting bill on July 25, 2002. This bill changed audit firm procedures for all entities, for profit and nonprofit.

From 2003 to early 2008, no auditor showed their face at NRCC offices. No partner from a major accounting firm graced the doors of NRCC leadership. They never met with anyone on the draft audit, much less presented a clean opinion and management letter to the NRCC Executive Committee. This gross governance incompetence was not investigated by the forensic accounting firm.

The question is Eric Cantor's exact role, as he "has been a great ally and a committed supporter of the NRCC in previous cycles." Will he put that in his submitted documents?

The NRCC Executive Committee's membership over the last 3 election cycles is an elusive ghost. But rest assured those Representatives failed to live up to the very basics of nonprofit governance. Eric served at least a year on this fiduciarily dismal body. It quickly got up to speed to attack 50 Democrats, but couldn't plan and execute an audit for the 5th year in a row. One might expect someone with community board experience to note something amiss.

But money and connections can sweep such failures under the rug. Cantor's 2007 public financial disclosure, a full 23 pages, reveals a multi-million stock portfolio, a spouse on the Board of several major corporations, and two trips to Israel. While Republicans look to Counting Cantor, Democrats explore eerily similar Bayh's Buy.

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