Leveling Up

When they’re not signing up distributors, MLMs are recruiting politicians.

NU SKIN

Known for: Galvanic spas

Political giving, 1989-2012: $675,000, mostly to Republicans. CEO supported Romney’s campaigns; ex-president and his son-in-law gave $2 million to the Romney super-PAC via shell companies.

MELALEUCA

Known for: Cleaning products, litigious CEO

Political giving, 1989-2012: $380,000, mostly to GOPers; plus $1 million to Romney super-PAC

ALTICOR (AMWAY)

Known for: Nutrilite diet supplements

Political giving, 1989-2012: $9.3 million, mostly to Republicans. Amway cofounder Rich DeVos funds the Koch brothers’ political efforts.

HERBALIFE

Known for: Nutritional shakes

Lobbying, 1998-2011: $3.65 million

METABOLIFE

Known for: Banned ephedra-based weight-loss drugs

Lobbying, 1998-2005: $3.6 million

MARY KAY

Known for: Pink Cadillac-driving sellers

Political giving, 1989-2012: $740,000

AVON PRODUCTS

Known for: Pink-ribbon everything

Political giving, 1989-2012: $345,000, plus $970,000 on lobbying since 2002

4LIFE RESEARCH

Known for: Transfer Factor immunity supplements

Political giving, 1989-2012: $54,000; founder gave $500,000 to Romney super-PAC.

FOREVER LIVING

Known for: Aloe vera-based drinks

Political giving, 1989-2012: CEO and his wife have given more than $150,000 to Republicans, including Romney.

XANGO

Known for: Mangosteen juice

Political giving, 2004-2012: $186,000, mostly to Republicans

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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