Eric Cantor takes Wall Street job. Will he ever run for office again?

Former House majority leader Eric Cantor has taken a high-paying job at a Wall Street investment bank. If he ever decided to run for office again, his opponent would have a field day with that.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) of Virginia speaks at the Capitol in Washington in June. After being defeated in a Republican primary, he's left the House for Wall Street.

Former House majority leader Eric Cantor has a new job – he’s going to work on Wall Street. Late Monday news leaked that ex-Representative Cantor (R) of Virginia has accepted a position at Moelis & Co., a boutique investment bank formed in 2007 that has some 500 employees around the world.

Cantor’s base salary is $400,000 a year, per details gleaned from Securities and Exchange Commission documents by Business Insider. He gets $1.4 million in signing bonuses of cash and stock this year, plus $1.6 million in incentive pay for next year.

Add it up, and over the next two years “Cantor is looking at a cool $3.4 million,” according to Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal.

That’s a lot more than the $193,400 Cantor made as majority leader, until he was deposed in a primary this year by tea party-backed insurgent candidate David Brat. It’s also 26 times the average annual income in his old Richmond-area district, according to figures from The Washington Post.

Given that, is it safe to assume his career in electoral politics is over? Probably. There’s been some talk that he might run for Virginia governor or some other high office but “banking” isn’t the greatest thing to have on your resume if you’re running for higher office, given the finance-driven economic collapse of a few years ago.

Plus, the wealth aspect of Wall Street work would get a lot of mention from opponents if Cantor ever ran for anything. Ask Mitt Romney how that plays out. Nowadays big bucks are a target for both Democrats and populist-oriented GOP tea party factions.

“The ‘libertarian populists’ – who claimed vindication when Cantor was defeated by a tea partyer who attacked Cantor’s crony capitalism and coziness with Wall Street – will have a lot of fun with this one,” writes left-leaning Greg Sargent on his “Plum Line” blog.

What’s thus beginning is Cantor’s new career as an inside-game political figure. He’s been hired for his connections and expertise about the workings of the House as much as for any inborn financial acumen. That’s a story as old as government, and Cantor’s embrace of his new status should come as no surprise. Cantor has long championed Wall Street’s interests on the Hill and banks and financial firms in turn poured money into his campaign coffers.

Plus, his wife used to work at Goldman Sachs, and he spends lots of time in the Hamptons. He’ll fit right in.

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