Idaho’s VanderSloot says IRS audits saved him money, but blasts fed scrutiny

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot has seized on the brewing IRS scandal in interviews published this week with leading conservative outlets.

VanderSloot said what he characterizes as politically motivated federal audits turned out fine — he’ll pay less taxes as a result — but the former national campaign co-chairman for the Mitt Romney campaign says President Obama’s actions are frightening.

“He’s saying that his own citizens are basically his enemy,” VanderSloot says in a 5-minute video filmed last year and republished online by the Heritage Foundation Wednesday. “Which, you wonder, does that tie to — am I an enemy to the United States of America?…It’s scary to say the least to have your president saying that you’re a bad guy.”

VanderSloot got national attention last year for giving $1 million to a super PAC supporting Romney.  The Obama campaign responded by naming VanderSloot and seven other big Romney contributors, calling them “wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records.” VanderSloot was called “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”

The Obama tactic was criticized by the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel in a May 2012 column.

VanderSloot then disclosed that he was being audited by the IRS for both his personal and business tax returns and by the U.S. Department of Labor for business practices.

Vandersloot told Daily Caller he wasn’t alone among the eight big Romney donors singled out by the Obama campaign who have been audited. “When asked about whether any of the other seven donors who appeared on the list were audited as well, VanderSloot spoke cautiously, but did say he ‘wasn’t the only one,’” reported the online outlet Tuesday.

In Wednesday’s Heritage Foundation video, VanderSloot says,”We don’t hear about the American Dream anymore, do we? It’s almost a bad thing, almost evil if you become successful in America today.”

The Idaho Falls billionaire told Daily Caller the audits are complete. “No penalties. No fines,” VanderSloot said.

VanderSloot said he was required to shift a deduction to the next tax year, which will save him money because of the expiration of the Bush tax rates this year. “Actually, I’ll pay less taxes because of the audits,” he said.

VanderSloot said he continues to support Obama out of respect for the office. “He’s my president. I want him to be successful.”


Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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