Markey had called on the Securities and Exchange Commission and the
Federal Trade Commission in January to investigate Herbalife after
he said constituents complained they lost thousands of dollars after
signing on as distributors.
Herr, who is seeking to unseat Markey in November elections, said
that Markey's move caused Herbalife's stock to drop 14 percent and
helped hedge fund manager William Ackman's $1 billion short bet
against the company.
"All you have to do is connect the dots to easily see that Senator
Markey used his public office to manipulate the stock of a publicly
traded company in order to financially benefit a campaign donor,"
Herbalife said last week that the Federal Trade Commission had
opened an investigation into its business. Ackman has accused
Herbalife of running a pyramid scheme, a charge that Herbalife
Markey said he is working for his constituents and "fighting on
behalf of consumers is what I've done my entire career."
"The fact that the FTC has now opened its own inquiry into this case
confirms that asking the agency to investigate was the right course.
I await the FTC's findings."
Ackman, who runs the $12 billion hedge fund Pershing Square Capital
Management, donates money to both main political parties. In 2013,
he gave $32,400 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. He
donated $20,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in
2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks
[to top of second column]
Herr, a selectman for the town of Hopkinton, lodged his ethics
complaint with U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Johnny Isakson, who
chair the Senate's Select Committee on Ethics.
Ackman's bet long lost money as Herbalife's stock price shot higher
over the last year. But on Monday Herbalife's closed down 7.8
percent at $53.50, below the fund's cost basis.
Ever since unveiling the short bet publicly in December, Ackman has
lobbied lawmakers, including Markey staffers, plus regulators to
determine whether Herbalife is a pyramid scheme where distributors
earn more by bringing in new distributors than they do from selling
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; editing by Grant McCool)
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