News & Politics

Report: Obama Campaign Hired Fusion GPS in 2012 to Dig up Dirt on Romney and Donors

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A new book claims that the Barack Obama presidential campaign hired Fusion GPS in 2012 to dig up dirt on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, The Daily Caller reports.

Obama for America (OFA) reportedly obscured its payments to Fusion GPS through Perkins Coie, an international law firm, in an arrangement similar to the one that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee used to pay Fusion to dig up dirt on then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016.

In 2012, Fusion reportedly dug up dirt on Romney’s donors as well so that the Obama campaign could publicly slime them on its official website.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that OFA has paid over $972,000 to Perkins Coie, an international law firm, since April of 2016.

The book, “Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and Donald Trump’s Election” by Michael Isikoff and David Corn alleges that OFA hired Fusion GPS to do opposition research on Mitt Romney for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign.

In 2012, then-president Obama had an “enemies list” on his campaign website with the names of  Mitt Romney’s biggest donors.

The Obama campaign website (laughingly titled “Keeping the GOP Honest”) shamed eight Romney donors for “betting against America,” accusing them of having a “less-than-reputable” record.

“The message from the man who controls the Justice Department (which can indict you), the SEC (which can fine you), and the IRS (which can audit you), is clear: You made a mistake donating that money,” wrote the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel in an April 2012 article.

One of the names on the list was Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho businessman who had contributed to a group supporting Mitt Romney in 2011.

Mr. VanderSloot soon learned what it meant to be on a presidential enemies list.

“Just 12 days after the [Obama campaign] attack, the Idahoan found an investigator digging to unearth his divorce records,” Strassel wrote in “Obama’s Enemies List Part II.” “This bloodhound—a recent employee of Senate Democrats—worked for a for-hire opposition research firm.”

That oppo-research firm was — you guessed it –Fusion GPS.

It wasn’t long before VanderSloot was targeted by the federal government. In a letter dated June 21, 2012, the Internal Revenue Service informed him that his tax records had been “selected for examination.”  The audit also encompassed 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.

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.

VanderSloot told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto at the time that he had lost a “couple hundred customers” as a result of being falsely labeled as “a bitter foe of the gay rights movement” on the Obama website (titled “Keeping the GOP Honest”).

The American Spectator’s Jeffrey Lord wondered: “Who paid Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS to investigate Romney contributor Frank VanderSloot?”

Who was the Obama supporter who supplied the bucks to pay Fusion GPS to burrow into files in the presumed bowels of an Idaho Falls county clerk’s office? With the goal of wrecking the reputation and business of a Romney contributor named Frank VanderSloot?

And why isn’t there a demand to the Obama campaign for an internal investigation and the necessary five minutes to supply this name? After all, this whole incident originated with that official Obama site “Keeping the GOP Honest,” on which VanderSloot’s name was published along with several other Romney SuperPAC donors.

I think we now have our answer.