Scott DesJarlais’ Abortion Flap Doesn’t Affect Support From GOP Leaders

October 20, 2012

By Daniel Newhauser, Roll Call

Top House leaders are sticking by embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais amid the revelation last week that the pro-life Republican doctor had encouraged a patient he slept with to have an abortion more than a decade ago.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) are maintaining their support for the Tennessee Republican, according to their respective spokesmen.

The two leaders are among DesJarlais’ largest donors, with Boehner’s Freedom Project PAC and Cantor’s Every Republican Is Crucial PAC each donating $10,000 to his campaign this cycle, according to Federal Election Commission records.

The support is notable because the Republican Conference has operated under a fairly strict zero-tolerance policy for scandal.

When asked why Cantor maintains his support for DesJarlais, Cantor spokesman Doug Heye said, “He supports every Republican incumbent who is running for office.”

Leadership’s posture comes despite other Republicans distancing themselves from DesJarlais. Most notably, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney removed an endorsement from the Congressman from his website.

The Tennessee Republican Party is maintaining its support for the freshman legislator as well.

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