Cantor’s Explanation is a Bust
Update to our earlier post on Cantor’s Cash
Rep. Eric Cantor’s office has released a statement denying that he took cash from ALEC, but saying he did receive an engraved bust of an unspecified value, which Cantor claims is allowable under the House Gifts Rule.
This explanation not only contradicts ALEC’s IRS filings, it also raises further questions for Cantor. He theoretically could have received a “commemorative item” from ALEC, but if this was valued above $335 then he had to disclose it.
We based our reporting on public documents, notably ALEC’s signed and sworn IRS tax filings. If ALEC filed inaccurate tax returns, it is incumbent on ALEC (and Cantor) to clarify the matter and file amended returns if needed.
Which brings us back where we started, with $1,350 worth of questions.
Our response to Cantor’s statement goes like this:
Common Cause’s inquiry was based on public records, including the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 2009 tax filing characterizing the Thomas Jefferson Award as a “cash grant.” Nothing in that filing, which ALEC’s representative swore was accurate, indicates the money was used for purchase of a bust or plaque, as ALEC now asserts; if the filing was inaccurate or incomplete, ALEC should correct it promptly.
In addition, if, as ALEC’s statement today suggests, the value of the bust presented to Mr. Cantor was $1,350; then we believe Mr. Cantor was required by House rules to disclose it.
Given the conflict between the ALEC filing and statements today by ALEC and Mr. Cantor, the OCE should investigate the matter and independently determine the nature of the award.