Does Eric Cantor have a conflict of interest in debt ceiling debate?

Alec Jacobs Contributor
Font Size:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) could face a resolution brought by House Democrats accusing him of having a conflict of interest in the debate over the debt ceiling, the Huffington Post reported late Friday.

According to the resolution, Cantor’s investment in ProShares Trust Ultrashort 20+ Year Treasury ETF means he could stand to gain if the debt ceiling is not raised. The fund bets against U.S. government bonds, and if the country were to default on its debts, the value of Cantor’s fund could increase. (Rep. Cuellar: Cantor’s withdrawal from budget talks good for Democrats)

The resolution, the Huffington Post writes, says Cantor “may be sabotaging [debt ceiling] negotiations for his own personal gain.” The resolution goes on to say that Cantor has “compromised the dignity and integrity of the Members of the House.”

Cantor’s spokesman, Brad Dayspring doesn’t just say this is wrong. He says it’s the opposite of the truth. Cantor has only about $3,300 invested in the trust in question, while he has more than a quarter million dollars in a congressional pension plan dependent on government bonds.

Dayspring put it this way: “For the conspiracy theorists — they would have to believe that Eric would want to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a few thousands in return.” He called the insinuations made in the resolution “outrageous.”

Cantor recently removed himself from budget negotiations anyway, saying he wouldn’t consider a deal until Democrats addressed tax issues.