Iowa Anti-Gay ‘Family Leader’ Activist Bob Vander Plaats Charged with Selling Endorsement

The Family Leader's Bob Vander Plaats, who endorsed Rick Santorum last week, is under fire for reportedly asking for money for that endorsement, and some are saying the amount he was looking for was close to $1 million.

VanderplaatsAn Iowa Christian conservative leader who bestowed his highly sought-after endorsement on presidential candidate Rick Santorum this week is now at the center of a controversy over whether he asked for cash in exchange for his public support.

Less than 48-hours after receiving the backing of Bob Vander Plaats, the head of the prominent evangelical group The Family Leader, Santorum disclosed that the prominent Iowan told him he needed money to make the most out of the endorsement.

And sources familiar with talks between the conservative heavyweight and representatives from several of the Republican presidential campaigns went a step further, describing Vander Plaats’ tactics as corrupt.

“Clearly the endorsement was for sale — without a doubt,” one source said.

Iowa Conservative Leader Mired in Controversy After Rick Santorum Endorsement [abc news]


  1. Lee says

    Normally an endorsing organization follows up with contributions TO their endorsed candidate. Will Family Leader’s board of directors undertake an investigation? Or were they complicit? We’ll see.

    What is odd is that the endorsed candidate is the one who blew the whistle, not one of the also-rans.

  2. Charlie says

    I was slightly misled by the title. There may be criminal charges for this, and I thought from the title that he had been charged. It is still early on in the investigation.

  3. tommyboy10 says

    Hmmm…so, if this is a Tax-Exempt organization…I hope the FEds remove the tax exempt status.
    And correct me if I am wrong, but this smells very similar (not the same) to what Rob Blagovich is going to jail for…now Granted Vaanderplats has no power to make Rick Santorun president, but he does seem to have influence over a certain flock of people…in my mind this is against the election rules…this is tampering.
    I know, it is just my way of thinking, but I always thought the the rule were clear where election were concerned…especially with Tax-Exempt religious organizations.

  4. Cindy says

    Anything to create a story…and to defame another person. Common people, our country is hurting right now and the media is helping to bring us down. I am sick of it and this article is very irresponsible as noted by the misleading title. Disgusting!

  5. james says

    Consider what this reveals about his organization: it has no money. That suggests its “supporters” aren’t very supportive.

    @cindy: The headline is misleading, as it implies legal charges have been made. The article, though is not — more than one source, including apparently Mr. Santorum himself has made the allegations Mr. Vander Plaats was shopping his endorsement.

    That is not the media bringing him down. That is him falling down all by himself.

  6. Continuum says

    From the Catholic Church to the rightwing evangelical family values crowd, is there not one organization that is not morally and criminally corrupt to its core.

    It’s like Sodom and Gomorrah . . . . is there not even one of these Rethuglican groups that is honest, moral and just . . .

    Are all these right wing groups just fronts for money grubbers and dollar whores?

  7. Acronym Jim says

    “Santorum disclosed that the prominent Iowan told him he needed money to make the most out of the endorsement.”

    This statement was issued after the endorsement by The “Family” Leader was given.

    So, did this idiot just tacitly admit that he BOUGHT the endorsement?!!

  8. Tom in long beach says

    Nice, So Rick buys an endorsement then complains about it ?
    The sad truth is conservative religion is BIG BUSINESS. But if you read the New Testament that was true 2000 years ago as well.

  9. walter says

    @cindy how is this a created story. the candidate who got the endorsement made the claim. it is actually karma and i hope plotz goes to jail for campaign fraud. and the only ones bringing you down are your own greed and bigotry.

  10. Charlie says

    If I recall correctly, this endorsement was not made by his group. They declined pick one candidate to support. Rather this is a personal endorsement by Vander Plaats and another cofounder of The Family Leader. The crime here, if there is one, is that super-PACs are supposed to be completely independent of the candidates they support. So if Vander Plaats held discussions with the Santorum camp agreeing to take a $1 million donation and support his candidacy they would be in violation of the law.

    But whether or not charges are brought this stinks.

  11. billywingartenson says

    Ghandi said

    I love your Jesus

    Not so much your christians

    What would vanderplat do with a million –

    spend it on hate mail and hate dvds against our gay friends and neighbors.

  12. John Schmacker says

    Anything that takes Vander Plaats down is fine by me. He did big damage to Iowa’s judiciary last year, leading the move to unseat three supreme court justices because of their position that “equal justice under law” applies to GLBT Iowans who wish to marry. It is his sole political victory, after multiple attempts to get elected to public office. He is attempting to use that sole victory to paint himself as important. He’s not important, but he is dangerous.

  13. anon says

    The law here is sticky. You can’t pay someone to vote for you, but endorsements are technically legal because you can just claim the person was hired by the campaign to be a spokesman. I don’t think RS has that kind of money though.

  14. Mark says

    And this is news? Everybody of importance “charges” something for their political endorsement. If not cash, a nice comfy position in the candidate’s administration (if ever elected). This is the essence of politics: a trading of favors by men in suits.

  15. ThomT says

    Cindy you’re a typical right wing wackjob – when ever one of you cronies get caught you immediately blame the media. Admittedly the country has problems but they would be far greater ifnthemlikes of you had your way and silenced the media. Come back when your ready to blame Fox news for all their lies and fabrications.

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