Kyrsten Sinema wears a mask and a coat with the word "love" printed on it

Oh, of Course MLMs Love Kyrsten Sinema

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In addition to raking in huge amounts of money from big pharma, finance industries, and wealthy GOP donors, purported Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has also been getting a large number of donations from another unusual but completely unsurprising source: multilevel marketing companies.

Despite not being up for reelection until 2024, this past fundraising quarter was one of Sinema’s best hauls to date, thanks to her clear ability to be bought in regard to negotiations around Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act.

The same goes for Joe Manchin, who had a similarly prolific quarter and has also spent recent months stonewalling his Democratic colleagues’ progress on the bill. For both Manchin and Sinema, the vast majority of those contributions (about 90%) have come not from their own constituents, but from donors outside of their home states.

MLMs are basically pyramid schemes, just different enough that they’re technically legal. But they’re still built on a pyramid structure, where a person’s recruitment of “downline” sellers is as or (often far) more important to their success than actual sales. For decades, labor advocates have been calling for better government regulation of these industries.

According to PoliticoSinema has seen donations this quarter from numerous MLMs, from Amway to Mary Kay to Herbalife. It appears they’re all after Sinema’s support on (anti) labor issues:

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.

Sinema’s alliance with MLMs actually seems entirely fitting. She’s got huge superficial #Girlboss energy and is basically a LuLaRoe pattern come to life. More importantly, though, MLMs are built on inequity. Only a tiny percentage of MLM participants actually succeed financially, while about 99% report losing money. And that small percentage at the top is only able to succeed by exploiting those below them. That’s Sinema’s whole thing!

(via Politico, image: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.