Rep. Cantor played a key role in getting bipartisan approval for the controversial $700 billion bank bailout bill in September, although since then he has been a vocal opponent of the surprising way the money is being spent: buying up stock in banks.
Still, it is one of those strange quirks in politics that $267 million of the money is going straight to a privately owned bank where Cantor's wife, Diana, is the managing director at a subsidiary. It's a job she apparently started early last year, after years in finance.
Cantor's people maintain that his wife and he did not even know that her employer was applying for a federal taxpayer bailout.
Rob Collins, Cantor's deputy chief of staff, said the congressman didn't know the bank was seeking bailout money and never interceded on the bank's behalf with government regulators. He also said Cantor had never intended the bailout bill to be used to buy up stock in banks.
"No one knew outside the Treasury Department, including Congressman Cantor, how the bailout money would be used," Collins said.
A spokesman for the bank said Diana Cantor "has nothing to do with the operation of the main bank" and was "never aware that the parent bank was seeking or received [bailout] funding."
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