IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - This week, the Internal Revenue Service has come forward and apologized for targeting certain conservative groups with an audit. Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said he has been audited more than ever in his personal history. Is this a coincidence?
Vandersloot said he donated more than a $1 million to a Republican Super PAC supporting presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He said right after that, President Barack Obama released a hit list of eight names showing substantial Romney contributors and VanderSloot said he was on that list. He said he's not sure if there is a connection to the recent IRS scandal, but all he knows is, he had a bull's eye on his back and was immediately targeted.
"I got notice of my first federal audit from the IRS. Two weeks after that, I got notice of a Department of Labor audit. Two months after that, I got another IRS audit and the total of, I'm dealing with three federal audits in the matter of four months and I've been dealing with them for the last year," said VanderSloot.
Knowing what he said then and knowing what is known now, VanderSloot feels vindicated.
"Yeah sure ... Not only in how I do my taxes and handle my businesses in a legitimate way, but also in this suspicion that President Obama had a reason for putting eight people on the site and it was to make an example of us and whether it was coincidence or not that federal agencies came after me, I don't know," said VanderSloot.
Clarifying this is not a Republican, Democrat, liberal or conservative issue, Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz asked VanderSloot, as an American, what would he like to see done in order to regain the trust in the federal government and the American people regain that trust.
"Well, this is America. We're not used to these third-world tactics where you kill the messenger, either figuratively or literally, and so what I hope for the future is that investigations are done on this and that people will be held accountable to the degree that we, as the American people, can be assured that we can speak out, donate to, or support the candidate of our choice, regardless of who is in charge, without fear of retaliation either from the press or from federal agencies. I'm really, really glad that people are asking questions. I think we are off base at the moment," said VanderSloot.
Vandersloot said those audits cost him $80,000, but he was cleared in the end and is due the refunds he had coming to him. He said he was only audited once in the roughly 30 years prior to this.