While we’re on the topic of Willard “Mitt” Romney’s baseline mendacity, and the roots thereof, Stephanie Mencimer has an article in the May/June issue of Mother Jones explaining why “Get-Rich-Quick Profiteers Love Mitt Romney, and He Loves Them Back”
In 1999, Nu Skin’s 10th international convention featured a speech by the CEO of the organizing committee for Salt Lake City’s 2002 Winter Olympics, who had managed to secure a $20 million sponsorship from the company. The deal had helped to close some of the revenue shortfall plaguing the games, so Romney was effusive in his gratitude. Nu Skin and the Olympics had something in common, he told the 10,000 distributors in attendance: Both are “about taking control of your life and managing your own destiny.”
Speaking at the same event, Nu Skin’s then-president, Steven Lund, didn’t dispel the impression that the company was trying to buy its way to legitimacy. “We have aligned ourselves with the Olympics because this alignment helps you do your jobs better,” he said, according to the Deseret News, promising that the Olympic logo newly affixed to distributors’ business cards would bring in loads of new recruits.
Years later, as Romney embarked on his first presidential bid, Nu Skin—founded and led by Mormons—was a natural base of support. The company’s founder and chairman, Blake Roney, became a bundler for Romney’s 2008 campaign. Roney was also a partner at Rainmaker Sports and Entertainment, a Utah consulting firm that worked for the Romney campaign in 2008. Nu Skin employees donated more than $50,000 to Romney during that election cycle…
Grifters gonna grift, but when grifters are targeting the same shoal of marks, competition is never as profitable as collaboration.
… Yet for all the empowerment rhetoric, companies like Melaleuca and Nu Skin appear to subsist in large part on the hopes and fears of Americans losing their grip on financial security. Industry watchdog Robert L. FitzPatrick says Nu Skin’s business model “sets the average person upon his neighbor to get at his assets, savings, and investments.” Their structure—vast numbers of foot soldiers feeding a tiny layer of top earners—may not offend Romney, who has dismissed questions about income inequality as a matter of “envy.” But a close association with companies that seem to prey on consumers might not play well for a candidate who has battled allegations that the private equity firm he cofounded, Bain Capital, engaged in vulture capitalism. (Romney’s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.)
Yeah, I do believe it could be argued that Bain Capital’s “management consulting” is just multi-level-marketing in a really expensive suit: Find a desperate business owner, spin a powerpoint-enhanced tale of UNLIMITED CORPORATE DOLLARS!, siphon off every bleeadable asset, move on to the next target. No wonder Romney’s handlers are so busy ‘helping’ him forget where he came from…