Interviews

Romney donor speaking out; claims personal info targeted

Melaleuca CEO Frank Vandersloot on investigation

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 11, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Well, he gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney and soon after found himself listed on an Obama campaign Web site, the post accusing him of being among eight wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records. His name is Frank VanderSloot. He is a multi-millionaire who runs a wellness products company in Idaho. The Wall Street Journal reporting that people have now started digging into his divorce records. Mr. VanderSloot he says he will not be intimidated. He joins us now on the phone.

By the way, we did call the Obama campaign for a response on all of this. We are waiting to hear back.

This sounds pretty bizarre, Mr. VanderSloot. But we’re getting all sorts of reports that they have been looking into you, your marriages, et cetera. When did this start? When did you know it was getting kind of creepy?

FRANK VANDERSLOOT, CEO, MELALEUCA: Well, Neil, thank you for talking to me today.

I’m -- when we made the donation in August, the -- it was -- the super PAC went public with the donors. I believe it was in January. We got a little bit of flak then. A few little bloggers came out and said a few things.

But when President Obama’s campaign came out and listed us as one of his eight on his enemies list as being whatever he said about us, I think he said we were anti-gay, he said I am, personally, anti-gay, which could not be further from the truth -- but that’s when everything lit up. That’s when our life changed.

CAVUTO: All right, now, you donated how much, Frank? It was like $1 million in all?

VANDERSLOOT: It was $1 million, yes.

CAVUTO: OK.

Now, this Michael Wolf, he used to be an intern I guess with Senator Carl Levin. He started looking around, you know, records in your town trying to dig up information on divorces, any of that. Do you know him? Has anyone tracked him down or what was he up to?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, I think Kim Strassel, the Wall Street Journal reporter, has done the investigation on that. She could tell you more about who he is than we could, but she has informed us who he is.

I know that for a while, he was working for the permanent -- the permanent investigation -- or the subcommittee -- the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for the U.S. Senate.

CAVUTO: Right.

VANDERSLOOT: And that is what -- where we thought he was now, but he has recently left them, he says, and is doing -- working for somebody else.

So we don’t know if this was an investigation for them or for someone else.

CAVUTO: Yes, you’re right.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I mean, own Megyn Kelly has talked to her earlier. And so there were these odd sort of rummaging around.

But I noticed that list also included Paul Schorr -- he’s with the Blackstone Group, Sam and Jeffrey Fox, the Harbour Group, Martin Fiorentino, who lobbied with Lender Processing Services. And the only tie- in was that you all gave, I guess, to this Republican PAC, or being supportive of Mitt Romney.

How soon after that did you start getting these reports of people investigating you or your name coming up on enemies list or anything like that?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, right away, right away, we got hit with all of this electronic media, these so-called journalists doing reports on us. So some of it started right away. And they start making a lot of false accusations.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, the anti-gay thing came up in your case, Frank.

VANDERSLOOT: Yes.

CAVUTO: A number of other organizations, another news channel pounced on that.

Why you’re here now, I thought I would give you the opportunity to respond to that.

VANDERSLOOT: On the anti-gay issue?

CAVUTO: Yes.

VANDERSLOOT: Well, I have many gay friends who had all kinds of questions about this. And some of these people, I’m very, very close to. I respect them a great deal. They respect and love me.

Those people that I know well aren’t -- were not affected by this. But for people who didn’t know me who are members of our business or customers and they were reading this, then we got a barrage of phone calls, people canceling their customer membership with us.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Really? How many did that?

VANDERSLOOT: A couple hundred that we can track, for sure.

CAVUTO: Really?

VANDERSLOOT: Yes.

CAVUTO: You have -- do you have grounds to sue?

VANDERSLOOT: I suppose we do.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Are you going to do that?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, there are so many of them. I wouldn’t know who all to sue.

They just -- they quote each other and tout each other. And it’s difficult. We have sent a few letters out to some of these folks. We have had a few sites that were the more reputable sites that had -- they took theirs down. And we have some who just responded that we are trying to bully them into telling the truth. And it is just too much to handle, really.

CAVUTO: I mean, for you to land on an enemies list, that takes some doing. Do you want an apology from the president or anyone on his campaign?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, I think that would be a waste of time. Don’t you? I don’t think -- I have not heard him apologize to anybody, except to other countries for America. I don't he's apologized for...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: So, are you going to continue giving to Mitt Romney or those PACs that would be supportive of his campaign?

VANDERSLOOT: Well, at first, I was really worried about all of this.

And I knew that a target had been strapped to my back and I started to worry if we had done the right thing. And then I started to think about, by golly, this is America. And this shouldn’t be happening. And if we cower from this, then it will invite more of it.

And I remain undeterred. I have a greater resolve than ever. I think Mitt Romney would make a great president. And he can turn this country around. He is a turnaround artist. He has turned many, many companies in his life. He turned around the U.S. Olympics and he can turn around this country.

And he is the right man for this job. And I’m going to support him more than I was originally. We thought we were done with our donations. We thought we had done our part, but clearly we are going to stand up and get more involved in this campaign. And we hope that other people will join us in that. Everybody should get out their checkbooks.

This shouldn’t be tolerated in America. That might happen in other countries where they beat up on people and scare them away from this candidate or that, but it shouldn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen. This is America.

I have never -- I’m pretty young. I am only 63 years old. And I have not seen all of history and I am not a history buff , but I don’t think any president has ever done this before, where they make -- where he has made a list, his campaign has made a list of his opponent’s donors, and basically put it out there for everybody to go after and slur.

And maybe -- maybe people will continue to come after me, and they won’t be focus on everybody. And if everybody gets their checkbook out, it will prove that these tactics just will not work in our country.

CAVUTO: Well, we’re going to watch it closely, Frank. It is odd.

Frank VanderSloot, be well.

VANDERSLOOT: Thank you so much.

CAVUTO: By the way, we are still waiting to hear from the president’s campaign. The call is out. If we hear anything, we will pass it along.

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