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Right-Wing Billionaires Behind Mitt Romney

Page 3 of 4

Frank Vandersloot
AP Photo/John Miller

THE PYRAMID SCHEMER: Frank VanderSloot

Position CEO of Melaleuca Inc., a "multilevel marketing" firm based in Idaho that sells off-brand cleaning products and nutritional supplements. Moonlights as a megarancher of cattle and quarter horses.
Age
63
Fortune
Melaleuca's annual revenues last year totaled $1 billion. VanderSloot is the 86th-largest private landowner in the United States, holding 110,448 acres.
Past Donations
More than $500,000 to Republicans, including $8,100 to former GOP senator Larry Craig of Idaho.
Current Donations
Melaleuca and three Asian subsidiaries gave a combined $1 million to Romney's Super PAC. VanderSloot also serves as a national finance co-chair of the Romney campaign.
What He Wants
Fewer consumer protections. The FDA has rebuked Melaleuca for making "false and misleading" claims about its supplements, and the company has signed a consent decree agreeing to "not engage in the marketing and promotion of an illegal pyramid." VanderSloot is also an anti-gay crusader: He tried to kill a PBS program for promoting "the homosexual lifestyle," and gave big bucks to pass California's ban on same-sex marriage.
How He Lives
Owns a 17-bedroom home in Idaho Falls. Breeds Angus cattle in Idaho and quarter horses in Utah.

Steven Lund
Pete Stott/Nu Skin

THE OLYMPIC PARTNER: Steven Lund

Position Vice chairman and former CEO of Nu Skin enterprises, known as the "Mormon Amway."
Age
58
Fortune
Reported $31.9 million in Nu Skin stock in company's latest filing.
Past Donations
More than $80,000 to Republicans since 1990, including $7,300 to GOP senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.
Current Donations
Gave $2 million to Restore Our Future. Like Conard, Lund obscured his donation through two shell companies: a defunct publishing business he incorporated in 1997, and a firm at the same address registered to his son-in-law.
What He Wants
A world safe for false advertising and marketing scams. Nu Skin has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission and state authorities with operating a pyramid scheme and making unsubstantiated claims about its cosmetics. In 1997, it was fined $1.5 million for violating a consent decree with the FTC. Romney has directly aided Lund's fortunes: As head of the Salt Lake Winter Games, he secured a $20 million sponsorship from Nu Skin, putting the Olympic name and credibility at the service of Nu Skin's sketchy products.
How He Lives
Unlike most of Romney's moneymen, Lund avoids conspicuous consumption. His five-bedroom home in Provo, Utah, is valued at only $263,000. One indulgence: He owns a first-run edition of the Book of Mormon.

Julian Robertson Jr.
Robin Platzer/FilmMagic

THE TAX DODGER: Julian Robertson Jr.

Position One of the first hedge-fund titans, Robertson ran Tiger Management Corp. He now takes an ownership stake in new hedge funds, known as "Tiger cubs," directed by former deputies.
Age
80
Fortune
$2.5 billion (Forbes rank: 166)
Past Donations
More than $1.8 million in lifetime contributions, including $60,100 to John McCain in 2008 and donations to Wall Street-friendly senators like Joe Lieberman and Chuck Schumer.
Current Donations
Gave $1.25 million to Restore Our Future – "one of the most important investments I've ever made."
What He Wants
Unfairly low taxes. Robertson has embraced tax avoidance as a lifestyle: In 2000, despite living and working in Manhattan, he logged 182 days outside the city – often racing to flee town by midnight – to avoid paying local income tax. Also admits to seeking direct access to the president: "I would expect Mitt Romney to speak to me occasionally," he has said.
How He Lives
Owns an apartment overlooking Central Park, estates in New Zealand and Long Island, and vacation hideaways in Sun Valley. Beat back a court challenge to his claim of nonresidency, robbing New York of $27 million in city taxes.

John Paulson
REUTERS /EDUARDO MUNOZ /LANDOV

GOLDMAN'S SUGAR DADDY: John Paulson

Position Hedge-fund colossus who profited from the nation's pain by shorting the housing market before the collapse. "I've never been involved in a trade with such unlimited upside," he bragged.
Age
56
Fortune
$12.5 billion (Forbes rank: 17) In 2010, Paulson made a record $5 billion haul on Wall Street by speculating on gold.
Past Donations
Gave $250,000 to the Republican Governors Association in 2010.
Current Donations
Gave $1 million to Romney's Super PAC. In April, hosted a high-dollar fundraiser for Romney at his home in Manhattan that did not appear on the candidate's schedule.
What He Wants
No federal restrictions on Wall Street gambling. Paulson was a key player in Goldman Sachs' infamous Abacus deal. The bank let him pick assets to short, then marketed those toxic securities as high-grade investments. Paulson cleared $1 billion on the rigged deal.
How He Lives
Owns a 28,500-square-foot townhouse on the Upper East Side and a mansion in Southampton worth $40 million. The collapse of the housing market hit him hard: His eight-acre estate in Aspen, which he bought in 2010 for $24.5 million, is now worth only $15 million.

Paul Singer
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

THE VULTURE CAPITALIST: Paul Singer

Position Founder of Elliott Management, a hedge-fund firm that buys up "distressed debt" from Africa and South America, then squeezes countries to pay up.
Age
67
Fortune
$1 billion
Past Donations
Has kicked in nearly $9 million total, including $3 million to the Republican Governors Association.
Current Donations
Gave $1 million to Romney's Super PAC. Pushed to get New Jersey governor Chris Christie to enter the race, but Romney – whose personal trust has $1 million invested with Singer's hedge fund – was a clear second choice.
What He Wants
Needs backing from the U.S. government for his lawsuit to collect more than $2 billion from Argentina. Also loathes the Federal Reserve, which he calls a "group of inbred academics."
How He Lives
Owns two $9 million ski chalets in Aspen and a luxury apartment on Central Park. Has been feted by Fortune as "a passionate defender of the one percent."

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