Cantor’s not lobbying, but his big payday should upset conservatives

Cantor’s not lobbying, but his big payday should upset conservatives

Something is rotten in Washington if Virginia Republican Eric Cantor, who has been an elected lawmaker since 1992, is worth $3.5. million to a small Wall Street firm.

Boutique investment bank Moelis & Company announced Tuesday it was hiring the former House majority leader as a vice chairman, managing director, and member of the board. The firm’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows Cantor receiving $1.6 million in cash signing bonuses, more than $500,000 in salary, and $1.4 million in stock options for the remainder of 2014 and all of 2015.

You can’t blame Cantor for accepting an offer like that one. But what is it that public officials do that companies would pay so much for, after just a few years in the leadership of a party that has mostly been out of power?

Cantor’s people say he won’t lobby, even after his one-year ban expires next August. The rules are murkier on the gathering of political intelligence, but precedent suggests Cantor would also be banned from, say, calling up House Speaker John Boehner and asking, “Hey, my client wants to know whether to invest in a sugar cane farm — you guys gonna renew that sugar subsidy?”

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