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House Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) campaign paid nearly $47,000 in legal bills in the final quarter of 2009, according to campaign finance reports.

A Cantor spokesman could not provide details about the purpose of Cantor’s legal bills, all paid to the Washington, D.C.-based law firm Wiley Rein.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in July requested an ethics review related to the National Council for a New America, a policy group of national GOP leaders that Cantor helped launch in early 20009.

CREW questioned whether Cantor and the organization violated House rules regarding funding for political organizations.

Cantor aide Rob Collins and a Wiley Rein attorney told Roll Call in May 2009 that the NCNA was structured to comply with House rules, allowing it to use funds from both campaign dollars and official House resources.

The Office of Congressional Ethics does not discuss specific complaints, and it is not known if it accepted CREW’s request.

The attorneys’ fees bring Cantor’s legal tab for 2009 to nearly $104,000, outpacing his legal spending in the three previous cycles.

In the 2007-2008 cycle, Cantor’s re-election campaign reported spending more than $82,000 at Wiley Rein. Similarly he spent nearly $77,000 on legal bills in 2005-2006, primarily at Wiley Rein as well as at Jones Day, and in 2003-2004 he spent more than $40,000 at those same firms.

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