By LOUIS FLORES
A new map of interlinked relationships from the LittleSis online database visually demonstrates the conflicts of interest facing State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D-New York) as he investigates the nutritional products company, Herbalife Ltd.
Attorney General Schneiderman is investigating Herbalife for complaints about its business practices, including accusation that Herbalife operates as a pyramid scheme.
Meanwhile, Herbalife has employed the law firm Dickstein Shapiro LLP to lobby on its behalf in respect of investigations into Herbalife's business practices.
Dickstein Shapiro has a record of being a campaign contributor to both Attorney General Schneiderman and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-New York).
Separately, Herbalife has employed the lobbying and consulting firm SKD Knickerbocker, which employs Attorney General Schneiderman's ex-wife, Jennifer Cunningham. Herbalife denies that Ms. Cunningham is working on its account at SKD Knickerbocker. However, Ms. Cunningham is a long-time and current political advisor to her ex-husband.
Meanwhile, SKD Knickerbocker has served as a campaign consultant to two of Attorney General Schneiderman's campaign committees, having been paid over $4,7 million by Schneiderman for Attorney General, Inc., between 2010 and 2011 and over $5,8 million by Schneiderman 2014 in 2014, according to online records maintained by the New York State Board of Elections.
Furthermore, Attorney General Schneiderman has received campaign contributions from a lobbying group that also represents other Democratic Party state attorneys general, known as the Democratic Attorneys General Association, or DAGA.
Some companies, which are the target of investigations by states' attorneys general, donate to DAGA or its Republican counterpart, the Republican Attorneys General Association, according to a bombshell report published by The New York Times, in an apparent attempt to curry favour with states' attorneys general. Both Herbalife and its lobbying firm, Dickstein Shapiro, have made contributions to DAGA, according to a report in The New York Post.