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?

At Least He Is Consistent

The Associated Press reported yesterday that during the month of June, President Obama’s campaign spent more than it collected. President Obama has been running the federal budget that way since he took office. Unfortunately he didn’t start with a surplus, so we are deeply in debt as a nation due to his spending.

The article reports:

June was the second consecutive month in which Romney brought in more money than Obama, finance reports filed Friday show. Romney’s money advantage prompted Obama’s campaign advisers to warn earlier this month that the president could lose the election if the financial disparity continued.

There is a little confusion in the above statement about the concept of cause and effect. If President Obama loses the election, it will not be because of the financial disparity–the financial disparity will instead be the result of waning support among the people who voted for the President in 2008.

According to the article, President Obama still has more money in the campaign bank than Governor Romney. The concern is that if the fund raising disparity continues, that money will soon be exhausted.

The Associated Press article leaves out a few facts. Many of President Obama’s donors give less than $200. Their donations do not have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission. Because the software on the President’s campaign website to prevent fraudulent and illegal contributions has been disabled, foreign donations are accepted. This was also the case in the 2008 election.

Power Line reported in April:

Urgent Agenda reader Adrian Murray wondered if the Obama campaign has become any more compliant this time around than it was last time. He conducted the necessary experiment and wrote Urgent Agenda proprietor Bill Katz.

Adrian Murray then attempted the following donation to the Obama campaign:

Name – Adolph Hitler
Address – 123 Nuremburg Way, Berlin, Germany
Occupation – Dictator
Employer – Nazi Party

After submitting, I received an email that began, “Dear Adolph, thank you for your generous donation….”

I then went to the Romney and Santorum websites and tried the same thing. Both rejected the donations with a message that the address could not be verified as belonging to the card holder.

Next time you hear the Obama campaign brag that their donations are mostly in small amounts, remember this!