Trolling for Dirt on the President’s List

First a Romney supporter was named on an Obama campaign website. That was followed by the slimy trolling into a citizen’s private life.

Kimberley A. Strassel
The Wall Street Journal
5/10/2012

Photo: Associated Press. Il Deuce? Or Richard M. Nixon?

Here’s what happens when the president of the United States publicly targets a private citizen for the crime of supporting his opponent.

Frank VanderSloot is the CEO of Melaleuca Inc. The 63-year-old has run that wellness-products company for 26 years out of tiny Idaho Falls, Idaho. Last August, Mr. VanderSloot gave $1 million to Restore Our Future, the Super PAC that supports Mitt Romney.

Three weeks ago, an Obama campaign website, “Keeping GOP Honest,” took the extraordinary step of publicly naming and assailing eight private citizens backing Mr. Romney. Titled “Behind the curtain: a brief history of Romney’s donors,” the post accused the eight of being “wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records.” Mr. VanderSloot was one of the eight, smeared particularly as being “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”

About a week after that post, a man named Michael Wolf contacted the Bonneville County Courthouse in Idaho Falls in search of court records regarding Mr. VanderSloot. Specifically, Mr. Wolf wanted all the documents dealing with Mr. VanderSloot’s divorces, as well as a case involving a dispute with a former Melaleuca employee.

Mr. Wolf sent a fax to the clerk’s office—which I have obtained—listing four cases he was after. He would later send a second fax, asking for three further court cases dealing with either Melaleuca or Mr. VanderSloot. Mr. Wolf listed only his name and a private cellphone number.

Some digging revealed that Mr. Wolf was, until a few months ago, a law clerk on the Democratic side of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He’s found new work…

…Political donations don’t come with a right to privacy, and Mr. VanderSloot might have expected a spotlight. Then again, President Obama, in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, gave a national address calling for “civility” in politics. Yet rather than condemn those demeaning his opponent’s donors, Mr. Obama—the nation’s most powerful man—instead publicly named individuals, egging on the attacks. What has followed is the slimy trolling into a citizen’s private life…

The complete article, with video, is at The Wall Street Journal.

UpdateDaily Kos campaign director uses polygamy and incest to argue for gay marriage What’s the problem?

Update 2Romney Donor On Obama’s Enemies List: They’re Stalking My Kids

Romney donor Frank VanderSloot, one of the eight men detailed by the president’s “Truth Team” by the campaign, was on with Greta Van Susteren on Friday night. Frank is discovering what it means to be on a president’s “enemies list.”…

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