When Lt. Gov. Jim Risch flew around the state to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, he was in a Learjet owned by eastern Idaho businessman and conservative activist Frank VanderSloot. Risch rented VanderSloot’s plane, the Associated Press reported, but the tie is of political interest: VanderSloot was a big backer of state Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s 2002 election campaign, donating $25,000. Wasden was considered Risch’s top rival when Gov. Butch Otter was reviewing a big slate of possible appointees to the Senate seat, before current Sen. Larry Craig decided not to resign after all; Wasden hasn’t yet said if he’ll challenge Risch in the spring GOP primary. Click below to read the full story from AP reporter John Miller. VanderSloot, who grew up in Cocolalla, is president and CEO of Melaleuca Inc., a huge Idaho Falls-based multi-level marketing firm that sells health and beauty products and household cleaners. Incidentally, at the recent "Idaho's Hall of Fame" presentation - where VanderSloot, Risch and Craig all were among the inductees - VanderSloot called Craig "one of the best senators in the history of the state."