Idaho-based businessman Frank VanderSloot, who gave $1 million to Mitt Romney’s Super PAC in the last election, told Breitbart News he was audited three times last year and investigated a fourth. VanderSloot was personally audited by the IRS, as was his business. The Department of Labor audited his business too, and a former staffer for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations appeared in his town of Idaho Falls, Idaho, seeking legal records about him.
All of this happened almost immediately after President Obama’s re-election campaign put him on what has become colloquially known as Obama’s “enemies list.” On April 20, 2012, Obama’s campaign published statements about eight Romney donors, including VanderSloot, and argued that they are “a group of wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records” and many “have been on the wrong side of the law, others have made profits at the expense of so many Americans.”
Within 10 days of the campaign publishing that list, Michael Wolf, a former staffer for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, appeared in Idaho Falls, Idaho, seeking legal records about VanderSloot. Eight weeks after the list was published, VanderSloot and his wife Belinda were told by the IRS their personal finances were being audited. One week after that, President Obama’s Department of Labor commenced an audit on VanderSloot’s company VanderSloot Farms. Then, a couple months later, in September, the IRS commenced an audit on another of VanderSloot’s companies, RBH Idaho.
Overall, the audits cost VanderSloot $80,000 in various accountant fees but the IRS and DOL each found no wrongdoing resulting in no fees, no penalties and no changes in taxes paid.
“I’ve been through one audit, maybe, surely not in the last two decades, I’m thinking thirty years ago,” VanderSloot said in a phone interview with Breitbart News. “Now, to be hit with two IRS audits within a span of two months of each other? And coming right on the heels of the president’s list? Those things just look awful suspicious.”
VanderSloot said he does not currently know whether the higher-ups in President Obama’s administration ordered the IRS and DOL to target him. But he is excited to see an investigation into these facts. “My argument would be this: We do need to separate those things that we know from those things that we don’t know, and the things that we fear to be true from the things that we can legitimately conclude to be true,” he said. “I think this is a time not for drawing conclusions, but this is a time for asking a lot of questions. I’m really, really thrilled that these questions are being asked. I don’t know where it will all lead.”
VanderSloot did walk Breitbart News through what he does know about this matter, though. “I do know this: I do know that right after it was disclosed that we had given the donation to the Romney Super PAC, President Obama came out and put me on a list with seven other individuals,” he said.
“I do know for sure that the things he said about me and others on that website are just absolutely not true. He said several things about me that weren’t true. Some things about me personally and specifically that are not true and then other things about all of us like we had ‘less than reputable reputations’ and that we had had run-ins with the law.
“That wasn’t true with me and I don’t believe that was true with any of the seven people. We do know that he put a target on our backs. Out of thousands of donors, some gave a lot more money than we did, some of these eight weren’t very big donors; they were large, maybe it was $20,000 or something, mine was $1 million. We have to conclude, and I think it’s fair to conclude, he wanted something to happen to those people. And something did happen.”
VanderSloot added that the liberal media helped in going after him.
“We do know that the liberal press went after all of us,” VanderSloot said. “And we know that the IRS and other agencies went after some of us. We don’t know if there was a connection. But we do know that the President wanted something to happen to us or he would not have put our names up there. Of all the activities that the campaign could have been involved in, they’re trying to elect a president of the United States. It was a very heavy part of the election cycle. They were really busy. And they thought one of the most productive things they could do was to make a list of names.”
While VanderSloot is really the only one of the eight on the president’s “enemies list” to be vocal about being mistreated, he told Breitbart News that “I know that I’m not the only one who received audits. I don’t know how many, but I know I’m not the only one.”
VanderSloot said he has not made a political donation of that size–$1 million–on a national scale before. He said that what has happened to him since making that donation has “not at all” discouraged him from making future similar donations, “but it has discouraged some people.”
“I know I’ve talked to some of those eight,” VanderSloot said. “And some of those eight have been beat up so bad they don’t want to talk to anybody. They won’t talk to me. They just don’t want to talk to anybody.”
“They’re embarrassed,” VanderSloot added. “In some cases, they’re families have been hurt. In others, their businesses have been hurt. They’ve had enough. On some people, it worked.”
NOTE: An earlier version of this story relied on a Senate report listing committee staff that was not up-to-date. Michael Wolfe was not a committee staff member of the Senate when he investigated VanderSloot. The story has been updated to reflect that fact.