Years before the intervention of Bill Ackman in December 2012, I was openly saying that the legally-registered, so-called 'Multi Level Marketing' company known as 'Herbalife,' has been part of an ongoing criminogenic phenomenon of historic significance.
'Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW),' claims to be a non-partisan watchdog organization that targets both Democrats and Republicans for corruption.
According to its own literature:
'CREW is dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials—regardless of party—who sacrifice the common good to special interests.'
Whenever I come across self-righteous individuals, and/or organizations, steadfastly pretending moral and intellectual authority (particularly, in Washington DC), one common-sense question immediately springs to mind, 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' - Who will watch the watchmen?
Talking of persons pretending moral and intellectual authority, 'CREW' has, in fact, been heavily-financed (to the tune of $800 000) by George Soros' 'Open Society,' and that fact, casts a huge doubt on the real motives behind 'CREW's' recent, reality-inverting public intervention in the ongoing 'Herbalife' vs Bill Ackman, Wall St. saga; for at the beginning of August 2013, it was reported that the Soros Hedge Fund had bought a large stake in 'Herbalife,' causing shares in the counterfeit 'direct selling' company immediately to jump 9%; for it was also implied that the messianic billionaire, George Soros, had personally been responsible for making this trade.
|George Soros Bill Ackman
The temporary re-inflation of the market price of effectively-valueless 'Herbalife' shares, meant that (on paper) Bill Ackman was around $300 millions down on his $1.2 billion short-selling bet that 'Herbalife' is a fake enterprise which will soon be closed down, whilst (again on paper) Carl Icahn and the Soros Hedge Fund, were hundreds of millions of dollars up on their own long bet against Bill Ackman's short position.
|Paul Sohn (b.1978)
More than a year later, young Mr. Sohn was no longer employed at Soros, but the following information was made public by 'CREW:'
'As part of its longstanding interest in how Wall Street investors manipulate the regulatory process for financial gain Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act with the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission seeking documents on December 8, 2014. In light of reporting showing that hedge fund manager William Ackman orchestrated demands for investigation of Herbalife while maintaining a short position in the company’s stock, CREW’s FOIA requests with the FTC, SEC and DOJ seek to learn more about Mr. Ackman’s efforts.'
|Anne Weismann, Interim Executive Director of 'CREW'
As a result of a recent, re-intensified, coordinated propaganda campaign to paint Bill Ackman as an unethical and dishonourable criminal, the market price of effectively-valueless 'Herbalife' shares has again begun to re-inflate.
Meanwhile, back in the adult world of quantifiable reality, after examining the available data, an entirely different picture emerges. In fact, when it comes to lobbying government, the 'Herbalife' racketeers have been massively outspending Ackman, and Pershing Square, over the last two years:
|Lobbying expenses of 'Herbalife' and 'Pershing Square', in US$ and % of total assets
|Lobbying expenses of 'Herbalife' ($) in the USA, 2009-2014
|Lobbying expenses of 'Herbalife' as a % of annual revenues, in the USA, 2009-2014
As a percentage of annual revenue, 'Herbalife's', lobbying expenses also quadrupled during 2012 - 2014, but that is not all there is to it; for while many large commercial companies have considerable lobbying budgets, one rarely finds one that spends as much of its revenue on lobbying as 'Herbalife.'
|Lobbying expenses of 'Herbalife' compared to high-rollers, USA, % of revenue, 2012-2014