Betsy DeVos

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Betsy DeVos, the former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, has a little known connection to war profiteering and private security forces in Iraq." Her younger brother, Erik D. Prince, is "the founder of Blackwater USA, a private security firm currently working in Iraq." [1] [1]

Money in politics

DeVos is a member of the DeVos family, which owns the direct sales company Amway and is noted for its election largess, contributing over $1 million in 1998 and over $750,000 in 2000, entirely to Republicans. Her particular area of interest is the deregulation and privatisation of the education system, initially through the introduction of education vouchers.

The Center for Public Integrity writes that DeVos, 'is a longtime Michigan GOP activist and served as chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party and finance chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. In a 1997 op-ed she wrote for the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, Betsy DeVos was brutally candid about her views on money in politics: "[M]y family is the largest single contributor of soft money to the national Republican party…. I have decided, however, to stop taking offense at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now, I simply concede the point. We expect to foster a conservative governing philosophy consisting of limited government and respect for traditional American virtues. We expect a return on our investment; we expect a good and honest government. Furthermore, we expect the Republican party to use the money to promote these policies, and yes, to win elections."' [2]

Her husband is Dick DeVos, former president of Amway and son of Richard and Helen DeVos. The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation is a major funder of conservative organizations, such as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and Coral Ridge Ministries. The foundation also supports parts of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation network, such as the State Policy Network. [3] [4]

Awards and Commendations

Richard and Helen DeVos were winners of the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership.



  1. Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saulius "Saul" Anuzis, Michigan Republican Party, accessed April 2008.
  2. Profiles: Organizational Donors, Center for Public Integrity, accessed April 2008.
  3. Dick DeVos, NNDB, accessed April 2008.
  4. A Profile of Dick DeVos, People for the American Way Foundation, accessed April 2008.
  5. Advisory Committee, Susan B. Anthony List, accessed December 19, 2007.
  6. Directors, Alliance for School Choice, accessed September 19, 2008.

External links


Articles & Commentary