President Obama Attacks Private Citizens

Armed with the intimidating powers of the SEC, the IRS and the Justice Department, which can fine, audit and indict citizens into oblivion, President Obama has taken to singling out the private-citizen donors of his opponents for special abuse.

For example: One of Obama’s campaign websites posted a blurb titled “Behind the curtain: a brief history of Romney’s donors,” which named eight private citizens, describing all of them as having “less-than-reputable records” and accusing them of being “on the wrong side of the law” and of profiting at “the expense of so many Americans.” The “crimes” that Team Obama refers to include “outsourcing jobs,” foreclosing on real estate, being a hedge fund manager or a lobbyist or making a dollar from petroleum. Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of a wellness-products corporation, was characterized as a “bitter foe of the gay rights movement.” There was not a single criminal among them; they were just wealthy citizens willing to donate to the candidate who wasn’t an economic ignoramus.

Not content with badgering private citizens, Mr. Obama lectured the Supreme Court for recognizing the free-speech rights of businesses; he accused the Chamber of Commerce of funding U.S. election activities with foreign money, which was a lie. Obama’s White House hit squad even drafted an executive order that would compel companies to itemize their political donations as a pre-condition for bidding on government contracts.

Barack Obama cloaked his hostility in the mild language of “transparency” and “disclosure” and lamented that corporations have the same free-speech rights as politically-influential labor unions. Since Obama’s rise to power political donors risk reprisals from the President of the United States. Donor intimidation is just as toxic to the democratic process as voter intimidation. The president’s oath of office obliges him to rise above his personal interests as a candidate and do what’s best for all of America, but Barack Obama just can’t do it.

Within a day of the targeting of Romney donors on the Obama website a man named Michael Wolf was seeking court records at the Bonneville County Court House in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Mr. Wolf was hunting for all the documents pertaining to Frank VanderSloot’s divorces as well as a case involving a dispute between Mr. VanderSloot and one of his former employees. Mr. Wolf later requested case files from three lawsuits dealing with Mr. VanderSloot and his company; Mr. Wolf offered only his name and his cell phone number.

Some sleuthing by the Wall Street Journal revealed that until recently Michael Wolf was a law clerk for the Democrat side of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The ID on Mr. Wolf’s faxes bore the name “Glenn Simpson” who, in 2009, founded D.C.-based Fusion GPS, a company that specializes in private investigations. Its website offers “strategic intelligence” and an expertise in “politics.” In other words, Fusion GPS does “opposition research,” and hence the hunt for Mr. VanderSloot’s divorce records. Someone wanted to slime Mr. VanderSloot and damage his business simply because he had donated money to the Romney campaign. VanderSloot is not a political power player; he’s a businessman; his involvement in politics has been local; until recently the only public mention of his name has been in the business sections of Idaho and Washington state newspapers.

All of that changed after Mr. VanderSloot made a donation to the Romney campaign. President Obama had called out Mitt Romney’s donors by name and encouraged others to attack them, so it’s not surprising that Obama’s foot soldiers are now harassing, among others, Mr. VanderSloot’s children. All this from the president who called for “civility” after the Gabby Giffords shooting.

Using Barack Obama’s itemized enemies list as a tip sheet, the president’s surrogates in the liberal media and the federal bureaucracy went on the attack. They swarmed Frank VanderSloot and the other named “enemies” of Obama. Liberal bloggers such as Glenn Greenwald at Salon and Rachael Maddow at MSNBC have focused national attention on Mr. VanderSloot. Mr. VanderSloot recalled, “When I first learned that President Obama’s campaign had singled me out on his ‘enemies list,’ I knew it was like taping a target on my back.”

As if this weren’t ugly enough, Frank VanderSloot is now being pestered by two federal agencies under the president’s control. The IRS notified Mr. VanderSloot that his records had been “selected for examination.” The audit will include Mr. VanderSloot’s wife and rummage through two years filings.

After that, the Department of Labor informed the Romney donor that he could expect an audit of all the workers he employs on his Idaho cattle ranch under a federal visa program for temporary agricultural workers. The H-2A program admits tens of thousands of temporary workers into America. Mr. VanderSloot employs three of them; they are all Mexican citizens; they have worked on the ranch for five years; two of them are brothers. This is Frank VanderSloot’s first audit. The Labor Department is demanding a mountain of documents.

Both Greenwald and Maddow are gay-agenda-driven homosexuals. Mr. Greenwald took exception to Frank VanderSloot’s 13-year-old criticism of a documentary on PBS intended to introduce elementary-school children to homosexuality. Mr. Greenwald’s 3,600-word ad hominem assault on Mr. VanderSloot makes no mention of President Obama’s fingering Mr. VanderSloot for a liberal-media wolf-pack attack; likewise, he doesn’t address the issue of the President of the United States using his bully pulpit and the IRS to intimidate donors of his opponents. Rachael Maddow parrots Greenwald and references his article on Salon.com. Both Greenwald and Maddow are shameless liars.

Here’s the truth: Frank VanderSloot’s company, Melaleuca, sells environment-friendly wellness products, not snake oil. His company is not a “pyramid scheme,” like Amway. There is no investment of any kind unless you want to call a $29 membership an investment. They can get this money back at any time just by asking for a refund. Members do not “invest” in costly purchases in the hope of “getting rich” by pulling in more “investors.” Mr. VanderSloot’s company pays commissions to members who refer customers who, in turn, make their purchases directly from the factory. No one resells anything; no one purchases inventory. There is no pyramid. Mr. VanderSloot’s company has paid almost three-billion-dollars in commissions to American households.

Mr. VanderSloot does not hate homosexuals. In his words, “I have many gay friends whom I love and respect . . . I am very close to some of these very good people. Our company has thousands of gay customers, independent marketing executives and employees.”

Contrary to what Greenwald and Maddow would have you believe, Mr. VanderSloot did not “out” gay reporter Peter Zuckerman. It was public knowledge that Zuckerman was gay; he had “outed” himself on his own website; his television audience in Florida knew he was gay before Zuckerman moved on to a TV career in Idaho. In the age of the Internet, the biographical facts of a television personality are available anywhere and anytime.

Did I mention that a radio show in Zuckerman’s locality had been speculating for weeks that the gay Zuckerman was hostile to the Boy Scouts of America because the Scouts barred openly gay males from leadership positions? Frank VanderSloot’s real offense was taking Peter Zuckerman to task for casting blame on several people whom Mr. VanderSloot believed to be innocent of the charge of aiding and abetting a child molester who had assaulted Boy Scouts. Again: Mr. VanderSloot did not “out” anyone. Peter Zuckerman is the victim of no one’s candor but his own.

Both Greenwald and Maddow are fond of calling Frank VanderSloot “a billionaire” even though they have no way of knowing his worth. VanderSloot owns a majority interest in his 26-year-old business which is not for sale. That’s his principal asset. He is paid a generous salary; he receives bonuses and residuals. He came from a poor family; he worked hard; he was successful and many people have prospered because of his efforts, but he does not have a billion dollars at his fingertips. The real reason Greenwald and Maddow bandy the word billionaire is to stir the cauldron of bubbling resentment against people whose very success feels like a rebuke to under-achieving liberals.

To what authority can Frank VanderSloot appeal given that the government, from the Justice Department on down, is now controlled by Barack Obama, a person who does not feel bound by any oath or law or any shared sense of what is legitimate or decent behavior.

This is the Hell the lives of private citizens become when a thug gets his hands on the levers of power.

Thomas Clough
Copyright 2012
December 3, 2012