Sen. Kyrsten Sinema speaks during a United States Senate Committee on Finance hearing on Oct. 19. | Rod Lamk/Getty Images
When asked about the industry’s support nearly exclusively for Sinema, a spokesperson for the Direct Selling Association offered little explanation: “Contributions to candidates from DSA’s political action committee are based on a variety of factors.”
Sinema does have a personal connection to the industry: Her own mother was a direct seller. But the bigger incentive for multi-level marketers to give to Sinema appears to be her position on labor organizing. 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.
Unions have pushed for some of the Democrats’ priorities in the PRO Act to be inserted into the reconciliation bill, but for the most part, the marquee labor bill has languished before Congress since passing the House in March. Sinema’s fellow Senate moderate, Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), has already signed onto the legislation, leaving just three Senate Democrats who have yet to co-sponsor the bill — Sinema, Mark Warner of Virginia and Mark Kelly of Arizona. Warner signaled his support for the PRO Act at a rally in Virginia on Monday. And Kelly has said he supports the bill broadly speaking, though he wants to see some changes, including the provision related to independent contractors, according to a Democratic Hill aide.
That leaves Sinema as the chamber’s chief Democratic opponent to the bill (Sinema’s office did not respond to a request for comment for this story). And as with other issues, including drug pricing and tax policy, her willingness to buck her party’s mainstream has earned her support from a variety of private industries. Sinema raised more than $1.1 million in the third quarter, with significant giving from the finance and pharmaceutical industries.
Multi-level-marketing is hardly a Washington, D.C., player on the scale of the pharmaceutical industry. Known for their “Hey girl” direct messages and often sold as get rich quick schemes, its companies lean on participants to sell their products through person-to-person sales. Those participants often receive commissions based on recruiting new distributors. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, most who join make little or no profits; some even lose money.
Multi-level marketers aren’t the only ones adamantly …….