Using The Government For Political Purposes

Obviously, money is an important part of current American politics. Each Presidential campaign this year will raise billions of dollars from donors and spend that money to fund their campaign. It’s not a great system, but the money spent helps certain sectors of the economy, provides jobs, and causes all of us to reach for the mute button on the television more frequently (exercise?). Theoretically, it’s a system where people can spend money to support their political views without fear of retribution. Well, at least it’s supposed to be.

On Thursday the Wall Street Journal posted an article about some of the consequences a major Republican political donor has faced for his financial support of Mitt Romney.

The article reports:

An Obama campaign website in April sent a message to those who’d donate to the president’s opponent. It called out Mr. VanderSloot and seven other private donors by name and occupation and slurred them as having “less-than-reputable” records.

But wait–there’s more:

Just 12 days after the attack, the Idahoan found an investigator digging to unearth his divorce records. This bloodhound—a recent employee of Senate Democrats—worked for a for-hire opposition research firm.

Now Mr. VanderSloot has been targeted by the federal government. In a letter dated June 21, he was informed that his tax records had been “selected for examination” by the Internal Revenue Service. The audit also encompasses Mr. VanderSloot’s wife, and not one, but two years of past filings (2008 and 2009).

Mr. VanderSloot, who is 63 and has been working since his teens, says neither he nor his accountants recall his being subject to a federal tax audit before. He was once required to send documents on a line item inquiry into his charitable donations, which resulted in no changes to his taxes. But nothing more—that is until now, shortly after he wrote a big check to a Romney-supporting Super PAC.

Remember, this is not doing opposition research on an opposing candidate–this is doing opposition research on a private citizen who made a campaign donation! That is called intimidation.

It gets worse:

Two weeks after receiving the IRS letter, Mr. VanderSloot received another—this one from the Department of Labor. He was informed it would be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers.

…This letter requests an array of documents to ascertain whether Mr. VanderSloot’s “foreign workers are provided the full scope of protections” under the visa program: information on the hours they’ve worked each day and their rate of pay, an explanation of their deductions, copies of contracts. And on and on.

I don’t know how involved President Obama is in this sort of campaign activity. If he is not involved he needs to denouce these activities and fire the people behind them. If he is directly involved, he needs to be held accountable. Is this the country you want to live in?