congratulations to Kyrsten Sinema, whose name I can spell, on being the first person to make money off MLMs https://t.co/3EbUv4m5RR
— counterfax?? (@counterfax) November 5, 2021
NEW — Kristen Sinema is raking in cash from MLMs—companies derided as pyramid schemes for incentivizing customers to become salespeople. They want her to kill her party’s labor bill. https://t.co/YvUh8hvGhk
— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 5, 2021
… The political action committee associated with Alticor, the parent entity of the health, home and beauty company Amway, gave $2,500 to the Arizona Democrat in late June, as did the PAC for Isagenix, an Arizona-based business that sells nutrition, wellness and personal care products. Nu Skin Enterprises, another personal care and beauty company, gave $2,500 that month, as did USANA Health Sciences, which sells similar products. In April, Richard Raymond Rogers, the executive chair of Mary Kay, a Texas-based cosmetics company, gave $2,500 to Sinema. Herbalife, which also sells nutritional supplements, gave $2,500 in July. All are affiliated with the Direct Selling Association, a trade group that promotes multilevel marketing.
The donations don’t track usual political alliances. Alticor is owned by the DeVos family, one of the biggest funders of Republicans and conservative causes. And, on some occasions, they appear to be rare forays into national politics for the donor entities. Sinema is the only federal lawmaker that the Isagenix and Nu Skin PACs have given to this year. Utah-based USANA Health Sciences has only given to home state Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), home state Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah), a Republican PAC and Sinema…
Sinema does have a personal connection to the industry: Her own mother was a direct seller. But the bigger incentive for multilevel marketers to give to Sinema appears to be her position on labor organizing. The companies face an existential threat from the pro-union Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, which would make it more difficult to classify workers as independent contractors. According to one industry source, the bill has become the driving issue since Democrats took control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. And Sinema is one of — if not the only — Democratic allies in the Senate.
Unions have pushed for some of the Democrats’ priorities in the PRO Act to be inserted into the reconciliation bill, but for the most part, the marquee labor bill has languished before Congress since passing the House in March. Sinema’s fellow Senate moderate, Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), has already signed onto the legislation, leaving just three Senate Democrats who have yet to co-sponsor the bill — Sinema, Mark Warner of Virginia and Mark Kelly of Arizona. Warner signaled his support for the PRO Act at a rally in Virginia on Monday. And Kelly has said he supports the bill broadly speaking, though he wants to see some changes, including the provision related to independent contractors, according to a Democratic Hill aide…
The threat of a crackdown from the federal government, however, has become more acute in recent years. There’s been renewed criticism of the industry in pop culture, like a recent and heavily critical docu-series on the fashion company LuLaRoe. In 2016, Herbalife — one of the Sinema donors — agreed to a $200 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for deceiving customers about their ability to make a profit from their business. Biden’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Rohit Chopra advocated for “restitution and penalties against multilevel marketers” when he previously served as an FTC commissioner.
The industry knows that it can only survive through its relationships in Washington, D.C., Keep noted.
“An industry that is literally built on contract employees — which is what the MLM is — would never want to be considered to be, to entertain the notion of having those independent representatives as employees,” he said. Of the industry’s support for Sinema, he added: “I think that she’s demonstrated a flexibility that they think they can capitalize on.”
Amway’s been notorious for decades; the DeVos family are ‘Christian Reformed‘ believers, i.e., Calvinists. But a bunch of the newer MLM mega-businesses — including, I’d bet, the one Sinema’s mom is involved with — seem to be Mormon-based and Mormon-intensive. I’m getting the impression, more and more, that Sinema’s Mormon upbringing may have influenced her thinking just as much as my Irish-Catholic upbringing imbued me with a particular form of Jansenism. We may no longer be ‘of the Church’ in which we were raised, but it’s really really hard to avoid letting those early lessons control your thinking, even when you can see how much harm it’s doing…
sinema is absolutely the kind of person who believes themselves to be far too smart to get fooled by a con job, it's really just perfect
— GOLIKEHELLMACHINE (@golikehellmachi) November 5, 2021