Ever heard of Herbalife? It’s a company that sells health and fitness supplements by getting ordinary people to sign up as distributors. If the name sounds familiar to you, it might be because of that one person in your Facebook feed list who’s always singing its praises in a creepy cultish tone.
It’s also a huge scam not unlike a pyramid scheme. This 2016 press release from the Federal Trade Commission should give you a basic idea:
Advertising in English and Spanish, Herbalife pitched its business opportunity as a way for people to quit their jobs and make the big bucks […] But don’t start packing the kids’ bags because according to the FTC, it’s virtually impossible to make money selling Herbalife products. As explained in the complaint, our analysis shows that half of Herbalife “Sales Leaders” earned on average less than $5 a month from product sales […]
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Which brings us to the inconvenient little secret about Herbalife that the FTC’s complaint alleges: The small number of distributors who actually made money made it not by selling products to people who wanted the company’s powders, pills, and potions, but rather by recruiting others to serve as distributors – and encouraging them to buy Herbalife products.
Sounds pretty sleazy, right? Apparently not to Democrat presidential hopeful Kamala Harris, who is being accused of giving Herbalife a pass because campaign contributions from a familiar name spoke even louder. The Washington Free Beacon has the scoop:
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In 2013, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and four other groups urged Harris to investigate Herbalife for deceptive business practices. Now documents obtained by Yahoo News indicate the San Diego office of the California attorney general agreed and wrote a memorandum asking Harris for resources to investigate the company in 2015.
Harris never gave a reason for declining the request. But Yahoo News notes that around the same time Harris received the first of three donations from Heather Podesta, whose ex-husband Tony Podesta runs a powerful lobbying firm that represented Herbalife at the time. Heather Podesta, a high-powered Washington lobbyist in her own right, was hired by Herbalife herself a year later. Herbalife was also represented by Veneble LLC, a prominent law firm that employed Harris’s husband, Douglas Emhoff.
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“It’s disgusting,” Latino anti-Herbalife activist Julie Contreras told Yahoo News, adding that “Kamala Harris did a huge injustice.” Contreras supports Beto O’Rourke in the presidential race instead, and her punny Spanish nickname for Harris is “Qué Mala,” meaning “how bad.”
The Harris campaign shot back with a statement touting a “long record of going after bad corporate actors engaging in fraudulent behavior and delivering results for people who have been taken advantage of.” Uh-huh.
This certainly wouldn’t be the first time Attorney General Harris put the interests of justice on the back burner. She was also AG when the Center for Medical Progress released its infamous undercover videos that first revealed Planned Parenthood was selling organs from aborted babies — and apparently willing to break a host of federal laws in the process.
Did she investigate the abortion giant? Nope; she went after the pro-life journalists who exposed Planned Parenthood’s criminality.
Kamala Harris has a good shot at being the Democrats presidential nominee, and is enough of a threat to Donald Trump that conservatives have to take her seriously. But stories like this prove she’s not invincible…if Republicans put in the effort to ensure voters know about them.