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Monday, May 30, 2005


Scamway: The Republican Money Machine Built on Fraud
I missed this column by Bill Berkowitz on Amway and its scary founders when it first came out:

Like many others, Eric Scheibeler and his wife, Patty, were recruited to the Amway Corporation by close friends. Along the "guaranteed" road to success they met powerful politicians, dined with multi-millionaires and spoke to thousands of Amway members at gatherings throughout the world. Then, without warning, their house of cards collapsed:

Eric Scheibeler discovered that the operation was committing massive fraud. When he took documentation to Amway Senior Management, they shut off his income and told him not to have contact with distributors he was revealing the fraud to. Scheibeler, a former federal auditor for the US Department of Energy, refused. He and his wife were threatened, ostracized, and lost all they had built over a decade.

Eric Scheibeler's book, "Merchants of Deception: An Insider's Look at the Worldwide, Systematic, Conspiracy of Lies That is Amway/Quixtar and their Motivational Organization," available free at merchantsofdeception.com, is more than a story about one family's rise and decline under the Amway/Quixtar umbrella. It also exposes the corruption enveloping one of the US's most politically well-connected companies. . .

Billionaire [Amway co-founder] Rich DeVos, a regular on the Forbes magazine list of richest Americans and the owner of the National Basketball Association's Orlando Magic, has been a member of the highly secretive Council for National Policy. He once served as the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. He also created a conservative philanthropy for he and his wife called the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation

For more than thirty-five years, the DeVos family has been a benefactor of both the religious right and the Republican Party. In the final weeks before the 1994 election, the Amway Corp. gave the GOP $2.5 million -- at the time "the largest political donation in recent American history," the Washington Post reported. And in 1996, the company donated $1.3 million to the San Diego Convention and Visitor's Bureau "to help fund a Republican cable TV show to be aired during the party's national convention," the Associated Press reported. The program featured ""rising GOP stars as 'reporters,'" and aired on the Family Channel, which was owned by Pat Robertson. . .

Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel's Amway Corporation has its tentacles firmly planted in late-twentieth and early twenty-first century Republican Party politics. Masquerading as a Christian-oriented family enterprise, Amway leaders have made billions selling a phony version the American Dream while bilking thousands of ordinary American dreamers out of their hard-earned life savings. The wealth of the founders has supported the nearly 30-year conservative makeover of American society through millions of dollars in donations to the creation and development of right wing institutions and causes.

Also, read the Rick A Ross Institute's page on Amway. They are creepy.

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