RUSH: Kimberley Strassel is in the Wall Street Journal today with an amazing piece: "Trolling for Dirt on the President's List." Listen to this: "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 [Miss Strassel says] 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. The ID written out at the top of his faxes identified them as coming from 'Glenn Simpson.' That's the name of a former Wall Street Journal reporter who in 2009 founded a [Washington] company that performs private investigative work. The website for that company, Fusion GPS, describes itself as providing 'strategic intelligence,' with expertise in areas like 'politics.'
"That's a polite way of saying 'opposition research.' When [Miss Strassel of the Wall Street Journal] called Fusion's main number and asked to speak to Michael Wolf, a man said Mr. Wolf wasn't in the office that day but he'd be in this coming Monday. When I reached Mr. Wolf on his private cell, he confirmed he had until recently worked at the Senate. When I asked what his interest was in Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records, he hesitated, then said he didn't want to talk about that.
"When I asked what his relationship was with Fusion, he hesitated again and said he had 'no comment.' 'It's a legal thing,' he added. Fusion dodged [Kimberley Strassel calls, so I couldn't ask who was paying it to troll through Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records. Mr. Simpson finally sent an email stating: 'Frank VanderSloot is a figure of interest in the debate over civil rights for gay Americans. As his own record on gay issues amply demonstrates, he is a legitimate subject of public records research into his lengthy history of legal disputes.'"
All he did was donate a million dollars to Romney's Super PAC, and Obama's opposition research people are after him to destroy him. Publicly.
"A look through Federal Election Commission records did not show any payments to Fusion or Mr. Wolf from political players, such as the Democratic National Committee, the Obama campaign, or liberal Super PACs. Then again, when political groups want to hire researchers, it is not uncommon to hire a less controversial third party, which then hires the researchers. ... That changed in January, with the first Super PAC disclosures. Liberal bloggers and media have since dug into his past, dredging up long-ago Idaho controversies that touched on gay issues. His detractors have spiraled these into accusations that Mr. VanderSloot is a 'gay bashing thug.' He's become a national political focus of attention, aided by the likes of partisan Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
"Bloggers have harassed his children, visiting their social media accounts and asking for interviews and information. Mr. VanderSloot has said his attackers have misconstrued facts and made false allegations. In February he wrote a long reply, publicly stating that he has 'many gay friends whom I love and respect' who should 'have the same freedoms and rights as any other individual.' The Obama campaign's response, in April, was to single out Mr. VanderSloot and repeat the slurs.
"Mr. VanderSloot acknowledges that 'when I first learned that President Obama's campaign had singled me out on his "enemies list," I knew it was like taping a target on my back.' But the more he's thought it through, 'the public beatings and false accusations that followed are no deterrent. These tactics will not work in America.' He's even 'contemplating a second donation,'" to Romney's Super PAC. "Still. If details about Mr. VanderSloot's life become public, and if this hurts his business or those who work for him, Mr. Obama will bear responsibility. This is what happens when the president makes a list."
Now, this goes back to the Romney Washington Post story a couple days ago. Much of it now made-up, front page. Something Romney allegedly did against a "presumed" homosexual, back 50 years ago. Thankfully, there are questions all over the place about the accuracy of the Washington Post story. ABC News is questioning it; the family is questioning it. But still, it's patently obvious what's going on here. The Obama administration is working hand in hand with all of these different left-wing groups and blogs and, you name it, and mainstream journalists to systematically personally try to destroy anybody who gives money to Romney and Romney himself.
It's like Mark McKinnon said holding up the Washington Post story. This means nobody can run for president. And I should add, on the Republican side. Democrats do not get this kind of media anal exam. They just don't. As I've demonstrated over and over again today with the names of highly reputed Democrat people like Ted Kennedy and John Edwards, Robert Kennedy, Robert Byrd, all of these stellar, above-reproach men about whom nothing was found to be problematic with anything they had done. But make up a story about Romney, time it to Obama's supposed evolution on gay marriage, which again, I have to stress, Obama didn't say anything new. The meter didn't move. There's not one thing new in the gay marriage movement other than gay advocates are opening their checkbooks and sending money out the wazoo to Obama. But not one thing has happened to advance the notion of gay marriage by Obama or anybody else.
Gay marriage, a social issue, is now a primary campaign issue. Gay marriage, a social issue, and who has introduced it? Not the pro-lifers. Not those people in the south that the Republican establishment hates. Nope, it's not the preachers. It's not the pro-lifers. It's not the NRA people. No way, Jose. No, the people introducing social issues into this race, Barack Obama and everybody beneath him on the flowchart. They are the ones. Barack Obama is attempting to win the presidency on the issue of gay marriage and gay-bashing. I need to amend that. Barack Obama is attempting to raise money on that issue and on that basis.
RUSH: Okay, so Barack Obama and his opposition research people make it a public project to destroy the reputation, the livelihood, of this VanderSloot man who donated a million dollars to Mitt Romney's Super PAC. What is the warning? You give money to Romney, I'm coming after you, too. You got anything to hide, and who doesn't? Who doesn't have something they'd rather people not know about? If you give money to Romney, I'm coming after you. So it's an intimidation factor as well as the impact on VanderSloot, which is personal destruction. Thankfully, VanderSloot's got a spine and says: I'm gonna double my donation.