Fred Karger, the openly gay former Republican presidential candidate, is announcing a global boycott of Amway today at the Unity 2012 convention in Las Vegas.
Karger is rightfully ticked off at the direct-sales company and its president Doug DeVos, because of a $500,000 donation to the National Organization for Marriage. Karger says the contribution only came to light recently because it came through the back door from the DeVos family foundation.
“I imagine NOM leaders Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown thought that no one would uncover the huge Amway contribution which appears to be the largest family donation to NOM in its history,” said Karger (right) who’s now heading up the group Rights Equal Rights. “Only the Catholic Church’s political arm, the Knights of Columbus, has given more to the hate group NOM.”
With four crucial marriage-equality measure on the November ballot, Karger is hoping the boycott—being powered by the website BoycottAmway.com, will send a message to other corporations that funding anti-marriage groups is not something you can get away with on the down-low.
Founded in 1959 by Jay Van Ardel and Richard DeVos, Amway has been intricately linked to right-wing causes for decades: In 1994, the company gave the biggest corporate contribution to date to a political party for a single election, $2.5 million to the Republican National Committee. (That same year, Amway almost single-handedly funded the campaign of GOP Congresswoman Sye Myrick.)
Dick DeVos (left), son of Amway founder Richard DeVos and a past president of the company himself, even served as the RNC’s finance chairman.
To date, Amway, the Van Andel and DeVos Family are among the top ten donors to the Republican party—and have seen their generosity repaid handsomely. Columnist Molly Ivins once even reported Amway, the 28th largest private business in America, “had its own caucus in Congress.”
We know, you’re thinking: “I’ve never bought anything from Amway to begin with, so what does it matter?” Well, Amway reports $10 billion in sale globally each year, meaning someone is buying (and selling) its beauty and household-care products. If it’s not you, it could be a friend or neighbor.
And as Rights Equal Rights reminds us, the DeVos family also owns hotels, car dealerships, gyms and even the Orlando Magic. (Sorry Shaq.)
Bottom line: this about more than just chicken, folks.