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Eric Cantor's $3.4 Million Payday To Leave Congress

The former House majority leader's critics immediately threw barbs over what they felt was a fairly predictable move.
Posted at 3:31 PM, Sep 02, 2014

Who knew effectively getting fired could be so lucrative? Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, apparently.

The investment bank Moelis & Company announced early Tuesday morning Cantor was joining the firm in a vice chairman role that no doubt takes advantage of Cantor's big name — working in "client development and [advising] clients on strategic matters."

A filing with the SEC shows Cantor will make $400,000 for the remainder of 2014 along with a $400,000 bonus and $1 million in stock options. In 2015, he'll make a base salary of $1.2 million with $400,000 in stock. That's a total of $3.4 million.

And the barbs began flying pretty much immediately.

JIM CRAMER, CNBC ANCHOR: "So now instead of working for every investment bank, he's picked one."

CNBC ANCHOR: "Ooh. Wow. That is true. He has picked one."

CHARLES PAYNE, FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: "Republican voters voted this guy out because he was developing these kinds of relationships on their time. He wasn't in his district. He was always hobnobbing with the elite in Manhattan and the elite in California."

Cantor admittedly suffered an almost unprecedented defeat in Virginia's June primary at the hands of Tea Party-backed challenger Dave Brat.

Once a hopeful to become speaker of the House, Cantor said in late July he was stepping down from his post to give his constituents a voice in "a very consequential lame-duck session." (Video via Roll Call)

But were all those nasty comments and hobnobbing jabs all that necessary? It's easy for the national pundits to throw rocks at the glass house of a majority leader's job, but what do his actual constituents think?

Well, a politics professor at the University of Virginia told the Richmond Times-Dispatch Cantor's move was "as predictable as the sunrise. ... We just didn't know the name of the firm Cantor would join."

Still, Moelis' founder told The Wall Street Journal he was hiring Cantor "for his 'judgment and experience' and ability to open doors—and not just for help navigating regulatory and political waters in Washington. Still, expertise in such matters is likely to be valuable."

So valuable Moelis figures — probably correctly — it can invest $3-plus million in Cantor and expect a heavy profit.

The announcement gave Moelis & Company's stock price a nice bump to start the day, jumping more than 60 cents, but it was down by about the same amount by Tuesday afternoon.

This video includes images from Getty Images.