• Did Bob Vander Plaats's Endorsement Come with a Bill?

    An endorsement from Bob Vander Plaats can do a lot for a presidential candidate's chances in the early days of Republican primary. As the president and CEO of The Family Leader — the most influential Christian/conservative political organization in Iowa — a nod of his stately head in your direction can make or break your chances in the state's all-important caucuses.

    So, shouldn't an endorsement from Plaats be worth a little something to a hard-working candidate like Rick Santorum? I'm not talking about a lot here. Just a little something to wet Plaats's beak. Like, say, one million dollars

    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

    "Clearly the endorsement was for sale — without a doubt," one source said. It's a charge that The Family Leader flatly denied…

    Though Santorum did not specify the dollar amount he and Vander Plaats discussed, multiple sources said he was soliciting as much as $1 million from Santorum and other candidates.

    Whaaaaat?! That sounds insane! There's no way that a conservative Christian political leader with eyes on public office would ever be caught doing anything that could be construed as shady! There's certainly no history of such accusations…

    ABC News has learned that Vander Plaats tried to solicit money 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."

    Given the fact that Plaats's endorsement ultimately went to Mike Huckabee, we can probably make an educated guess as to how that Romney deal went.

    Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Bob Vander Plaats, Christianity, Conservatives, Iowa, Iowa Caucus, Money, Primaries, Religion, Republicans, Rick Santorum, The Family Leader


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