Eric Cantor's Congressional defeat pays off with $1.4M Wall Street signing bonus

Eric Cantor (AP file photo)

NEW YORK (ABC News/AP) - Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is riding his unexpected primary defeat straight to the bank.

The seven-term Virginia Republican has joined New York investment bank Moelis & Company and will receive a $1.4 million signing bonus. He will get the titles of vice chairman and managing director, the company announced Tuesday.

Cantor, who will also join the company's board, will make at least $3.5 million over two years with Moelis— nearly equivalent to 20 years' work as House majority leader, which pays $193,000 annually.

"Eric has proven himself to be a pro-business advocate and one who will enhance our boardroom discussions with CEOs and senior management as we help them navigate their most important strategic decisions," said Ken Moelis, the company's CEO and chairman, in a statement.

Moelis, a boutique investment firm with offices around the world, will pay Cantor $1.4 million signing bonus this year, assured him "minimum incentive compensation" of $1.6 million in 2015, according to the firm's Securities Exchange Commission filing.

In addition, Cantor will receive a $400,000 base salary—the same amount economics professor Dave Brat spent in his primary campaign against the former GOP leader.

Cantor, who served in the House from 2001 to 2014, said that he considered his career options and "knew I wanted to join a firm with a great entrepreneurial spirit that focused on its clients. The new model of independent banks offering conflict free advice, in a smaller more intimate environment, was a place where I knew my skills could help clients succeed."

Cantor's move to Wall Street was unsurprising to his conservative detractors.

"After Dave Brat's upset victory in June, many analysts accused Eric Cantor of paying more attention to Wall Street than to the people of Virginia's 7th District," said Kevin Broughton, a spokesperson for the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. "He certainly didn't waste any time validating that theory."

While Cantor will reside in Richmond, he will be reimbursed for any living expenses in New York City, and plans to work out of the firm's New York and soon-to-be-opened Washington office. A source close to Cantor said he will be "actively engaged" with Moelis's full roster of clients around the world.

Moelis & Company has 15 offices in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.