Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Will Romney's Finance Co-Chair Become a Liability? Will Romney's Finance Co-Chair Become a Liability?

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation

 

Blogs

Will Romney's Finance Co-Chair Become a Liability?

Mitt Romney speaks at 2011 CPAC.(Chet Susslin)

February 27, 2012
Earlier this month, Salon reported that Mitt Romney mega donor and national finance co-chair Frank VanderSloot has used his fortune to bludgeon journalists and critics into removing articles critical of him and his business by threatening defamation lawsuits. Glenn Greenwald extensively documents how VanderSloot and lawyers for his Idaho-based health and home good company Melaleuca have forced Forbes, Mother Jones and a local gay blogger to yank articles critical of his political and business practices. 
The story has gotten some legs, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow picked it up, for example, but it hasn't yet become part of the campaign narrative. But that may not last for long. The VanderSloot storyline -- ultra-wealthy businessman uses his clout to kick around the little guys -- only serves to widen the perceived gulf between Romney's world and the real world, where voters actually live. And unlike owning a couple of Caddies or making a $10,000 bet, Romney would be hard pressed to explain it away as a product of success. In fact, it's what most middle class folks hate most about the rich, the feeling that they're getting stepped on. 
Still, with wealthy benefactors of their own, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul may be hesitant to throw the first stone in this particular glass house. And, of course, threatening journalists and bloggers is not exactly a cardinal sin among the GOP base. 
But with Santorum needing to sharpen his populist pitch, Greenwald's story could provide an effective, and much more visceral, attack than we've seen in the race so far. And, should Romney win the nomination, it's almost certainly a nugget in the Democrats' opposition research file.
And near as I can tell, Romney has yet to answer questions regarding his supporter's tactics. Did he know of VanderSloot's reported pattern of threatening journalists critical of his interests? Does Romney agree with that response? And does Romney stand by VanderSloot? I put those, and other, questions to a campaign spokeswoman but did not get a response.  
For VanderSloot's part, he issued a lengthy statement in response to Greenwald's piece that read, in part, "we make no apology for rising to defend our reputation when we are wrongly accused" and "it is simply unfair to accuse us of bullying people into submission."
But, unfair or not, the bigger question seems to be whether Romney's opponents will use the accusation against him. 
More Blogs
Job Board
Search Jobs
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
Fire Sprinkler Inspector
American Society of Civil Engineers | Charlotte, NC
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Deputy Director of Transit Operations
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Jose, CA
Transportation Planner
American Society of Civil Engineers | Salinas, CA
Assistant Professor - Water Resources/Ecological Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers | Auburn, AL
Product Manager - Chemical Development and Supply - Tulsa, OK
American Society of Civil Engineers | Tulsa, OK
Commissioning Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Chicago, IL
Assessment and Remediation Team Lead
American Society of Civil Engineers | Regina, SK
Business Development Manager
American Society of Civil Engineers
Sr. Controls Systems Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Grand Island, NE
Senior Project Manager- Transportation
American Society of Civil Engineers | San Antonio, TX
Materials Engineer 2
American Society of Civil Engineers | IL
Land Surveyor
American Society of Civil Engineers
Quality Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Attica, IN
Comments
comments powered by Disqus