Richard M. DeVos is the co-founder of Amway Corporation and a longtime contributor to right-wing political causes through political contributions and donations made via his Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation. According to Russ Bellant’s The Religious Right in Michigan Politics, DeVos was active in the efforts to build the early Christian right in the mid-1970s and was an endorser of a Third Century Publishers political manual. Third Century was one of the first hard-line Christian Right groups focused on electing real Christians to office. In 2005, DeVos was the 194th richest person in the world with a personal fortune of $3 billion dollars (source).
DeVos has also been a major contributor to Republican and conservative political causes:
- The DeVos family gave $12.9 million to a failed voucher initiative in 1997 (source).
- The inaugural event for the Republican Majority Issues Committee PACfounded by Representative Tom DeLaywas held aboard the DeVos family yacht (source).
- In 1995, Amway gave the GOP $2.5 million for a broadcast center which made them the largest corporate contributor at the time, with the next closet, Philip Morris, giving $700,000 (Bellant, The Religious Right in Michigan Politics).
- On April 2, 1997, Richard and Helen DeVos each wrote $500,000 dollar checks to the Republican Party. DeVos had received a tax break in a budget bill passed the previous summer. That bill “eased” international tax rules and benefited two of Amway’s Asian affiliates (source).
- Amway/Alticor and its family owners have given at least $7.5 million to federal campaigns, with all of it going to Republicans and the majority being soft money (source)
- Amway and affiliated donors have gave $4.1 million to the Republican National Committee from 1991-1997 (source)
- In 1996, Amway gave $1.3 million to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau to pay for Republican “infomercials” that aired on Pat Robertson’s Family Channel (Scahill, Blackwater, 2007, p. 8).
Board / Leadership Positions
- Council for National Policy, President 1986-1988 and 1993-1994, Board of Governors 1996 and 1998 (current member)
- Christian Freedom Foundation, former chair and early funder (source)
- Conservative Caucus, former member of the Chairman’s Council (source)
- Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, board
- Free Congress Foundation, member Board of Directors
- Gospel Communications International, Board
- Grand Valley State University Foundation, Chairman, Board of Trustees (source)
- Heritage Foundation, donor for DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society (source)
- Knox Theological Seminary, Board of Directors (source)
- Northwood University, Board of Trustees
- Republican National Committee, former Finance Chairman (source)
- In a graduation speech at Cornerstone College, DeVos told the crowd that as a high school student he grew up in a world threatened by Adolph Hitler. “We’re in a similar war… During your time, a war developed between the Muslim world to take over the world. You and I have to be the best we can be to stand up to the challenges (Grand Rapids Press, “Don’t take freedom for granted, DeVos tells grads,” 05/06/07).”