Friday, December 23, 2011

Did Iowa Family Leader's Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley try to shake down Rick Santorum in a 'pay-for-play' endorsement scheme?

Recently Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa Family Leader, and Chuck Hurley, head of the Iowa Family Policy Council, a subsidiary of the Family Leader, both endorsed Rick Santorum even though their respective organizations did not. Yesterday Iowans began getting robo-calls that feature Vander Plaats’ voice promoting Rick Santorum. The calls say they were paid for by a super PAC called “Leaders for Families.”

The Des Moines Register quotes Santorum directly as saying Vander Plaats told him “he needed money” to promote his eventual endorsement.

ThinkProgress reports that ABC News has learned Vander Plaats tried to solicit money in exchange 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.”
Here's what the Rachel Maddow show had to say:

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