The Colorado Independent’s Robin Bravender reports on the big donations by the billionaire DeVos family of Michigan to Sen. Cory Gardner’s re-election campaign this year, a substantial piece of his $2 million Q1 that was heavily reliant on out-of-state money. In the case of the DeVoses, that money has a backstory:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s family members spent $22,400 so far this year to help fund Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner’s re-election campaign, according to federal campaign finance data released this week.
DeVos’s in-laws — Michigan conservative donors and heirs to the Amway fortune — have plowed cash into the coffers of Republican Senate candidates across the country who are up for re-election in 2020, the records show.
DeVos’s husband, Dick, has three siblings — Doug, Daniel and Suzanne — each of whom contributed $5,600 to Gardner’s campaign in March. Doug’s wife, Maria DeVos, also contributed $5,600 to the campaign. That’s the maximum contribution allowed per election cycle under federal election law.
Although it was discussed to a limited extent during Betsy DeVos’ rocky confirmation hearing as Education Secretary, when it comes to tens of thousands of dollars in Amway money going directly into Cory Gardner’s campaign coffers the facts should be clearly understood. Amway, the multilevel marketing operation that made the DeVos family billionaires, is arguably one of the most exploitative business models in the history of American capitalism. Sold to naive new “independent business owners” as a surefire path to financial independence, the reality is that half of the “business owners” in the Amway pyramid scheme lose everything they paid in to join– and the ones who “make money” make somewhere around $200 per month on average, all the while alienating friends and family who are reduced to nothing more than increasingly desperate sales prospects.
The DeVos family’s primary method of avoiding consequences over the predatory reality of their multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme has been to become major financial supporters of the Republican Party. Lavish political giving from the profits reaped via their exploitative business model propelled the DeVoses into the upper ranks of the GOP elite–squelching criticism of their business and resulting among other things in the comically unqualified Betsy DeVos’ appointment as Secretary of Education by Donald Trump. Sen. Gardner was an enthusiastic supporter of DeVos, which makes sense after the DeVos family donated almost $50,000 to him ahead of his vote to confirm her.
In a world with more accountability than the one we currently reside in, the DeVoses would be vilified for the way they made their billions–and everyone who has benefited from their ill-gotten gains would be obliged to return the money and apologize to the victims of the DeVos family’s pyramid scheme.
At the very least, it would be nice to hear Sen. Gardner’s thoughts–since he’s at the top of the pyramid.