The Politicus

Create | Share | Influence

MI-Sen: GOPer Tried To Distance Himself From Betsy DeVos But $1 Million Later, He Hired Her Niece

3 min read

Salon has a great piece out about how U.S. Senate candidate, John James (R. MI), has been trying to distance himself from the abysmal Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, as he tries to unseat U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D. MI). Except that James can’t stop taking her family’s money and doing them favors:

The Senate candidate has hired Olivia DeVos, the secretary of education's niece, as his assistant communications director. She is a recent college graduate who appears to have no relevant experience in communications or politics. (The only experience listed on her online resume is as an intern at her family's Amway empire and as a summer associate at her family's RDV Corporation.) The hire came after her parents, Douglas and Maria DeVos, directly contributed more than $20,000 to James' Senate campaigns.

James' wife, Elizabeth, has worked at Amway since September 2019 and had a previous stint at the company between 2009 and 2012. Amway, founded and owned by the DeVos family, is a multi-level marketing company which has faced multiple lawsuits alleging that it operates as a “pyramid scheme.”

James has praised Betsy DeVos in the past, arguing that “the job Betsy DeVos is doing in public education, I think, is very, very good.” But as the education secretary has come under heavy criticism for using her position to undermine public education and loan forgiveness programs, as well as to funnel coronavirus relief funds to private religious schools, James has downplayed his connections to her.

The Center for Responsive Politics has cited that Betsy DeVos has donated a $1 million to James’ campaign:

Trump has tweeted in support of James both this cycle and in 2018.

James’ endorsements reflect his broad party support in the state. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce recently endorsed him, adding their voice to conservative groups including Right to Life of Michigan, Campaign for Working Families, Citizens United Political Victory Fund and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

Outside spending for James and against Peters has also topped $7 million, with the biggest conservative spender being the National Republican Senatorial Committee which put $2.8 million in the race. The other top conservative groups contributing to outside include Better Future Michigan Fund and Restoration PAC, super PACs funded by the family of Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos and Republican megadonor Richard Uihlein, respectively. Each have spent over $1 million, all opposing Peters.

Meanwhile, Sen. Peters is focusing on saving the post office and protecting your vote:

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., on Thursday asked individuals, businesses and groups to contact his office about issues with mail delivery as he opened an investigation into Trump administration cuts to the U.S. Postal Service.

Peters, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees the Postal Service, said he would be “working to get to the bottom of any changes that the new Postmaster General may be directing that undercut the Postal Service’s tradition of effective service.”

Mail delivery has become a significant concern, especially as people count on packages coming to their homes as a way to avoid in-person shopping out of concern for the coronavirus and as many states — including Michigan — increasingly look to absentee voting to keep people from massing at polling places. Some 1.6 million absentee ballots, for instance, were returned in Tuesday's primary, most of which were mailed.

And Peters continues to lead in the polls:



— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) August 3, 2020


— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) July 30, 2020


— Political Polls (@Politics_Polls) July 29, 2020

Let’s keep up the momentum and flip Michigan Blue. Click below to donate and get involved with Peters, Biden and their fellow Michigan Democrats campaigns:

Gary Peters

Joe Biden

Elissa Slotkin

Haley Stevens

Jon Hoadley

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Politicus is a collaborative political community that facilitates content creation directly on the site. Our goal is to make the political conversation accessible to everyone.

Any donations we receive will go into writer outreach. That could be advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit or person-to-person outreach on College campuses. Please help if you can:

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x