The millions of Americans that become involved in direct selling are the public face of the retail channel. DSA and its member companies work with policymakers in the federal, state and local levels to establish an appreciation of their contributions and to ensure that direct sellers and their customers are protected from bad actors – pyramid schemes and companies that exaggerate income, lifestyle, and product claims.

DSA’s policy priorities seek to:

  • Preserve the legal and tax status of independent direct sellers so they can pursue meaningful, independent work.
  • Help stakeholders differentiate between legitimate direct selling companies and illegal pyramid schemes to protect consumers

In 2017, over 18 million people were involved in direct selling, accounting for over $34 billion in retail sales. DSA’s advocacy focuses on ensuring direct selling businesses can continue growing in the marketplace. To guide our efforts, DSA has developed policy papers clearly articulating the association’s positions and policy alternatives on the most important issues to direct selling. 

2018 Government Affairs Accomplishments

Supporting Policies to Protect Consumers

  • Secured 50 bi-partisan co-sponsors for H.R. 3409, the Anti-Pyramid Promotional Act of 2017.
  • Supported legislation enacted in Michigan, Mississippi and Ohio clearly distinguishing direct selling companies and pyramid schemes consistent with the 2004 Council of State Governments Suggested State Legislation.
  • Met with senior officials from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to discuss enforcement and the Direct Selling Self-Regulatory Council (DS-SRC).
  • Worked with the DSA Board of Directors and Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) to develop the DS-SRC to be launched in January 2019.

Preserving the Independent Contractor Status of Our Salesforce

  • Collaborated with Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) on introduction of H.R. 7029, the Preserving Direct Seller Independence Act, that would specifically define direct sellers as independent contractors under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
  • Helped secure passage and signing of legislation in North Carolina that defines direct sellers as statutory non-employees under state unemployment compensation code.
  • Engaged with the United States Department of Labor including Secretary Alex Acosta, Chief of Staff Nick Geale and Deputy Secretary Patrick Pizzella to discuss direct selling and independent contractor status under federal statute.
  • Convened an independent contractor working group under the auspices of the Government Relations Committee to discuss legislative approaches to better position independent contractors in state and federal statutes.
  • Launched the “Independent Contractor Update”, a monthly review of legal and legislative developments relating to independent contractor status.
  • Hosted the first Independent Contractor Practicum, a one day seminar in Washington, DC that discussed legal and legislative developments.

Working with DSA Member Companies to Engage Policymakers

  • Facilitated visits to DSA member companies by Reps. Mark Walker (R-NC), Trey Hollingworth (R-IN), and David Kustoff (R-TN).
  • Hosted Direct Selling Day on Capitol Hill with more than 150 direct selling distributors and executives representing 14 member companies from 28 states who met with more than 100 members of Congress.

2019 Government Affairs Priorities

Year of the Independent Contractor

  • Advocate for re-introduction of legislation in the United States Congress that would clearly define direct sellers as independent contractors to distinguish our businesses from those in the gig/sharing economy.
  • Support legislation in California, Connecticut and Oregon to update the laws in response to negative judicial decisions that makes it more difficult for direct sellers to be classified as independent contractors.
  • Seek introduction of legislation in Indiana that would define direct sellers as independent contractors under state wage and hour laws as a new model for state legislation.

Support Consumer Protection and Industry Self-Regulation

  • Provide support for launching the DS-SRC and secure support for the program among the FTC, Members of Congress, state attorneys general and state legislators.
  • Promote policies that would distinguish direct selling companies from pyramid schemes under the Federal Trade Commission Act and in Arkansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Direct Selling Advocacy Center

  • Introduce and publicize an updated Direct Selling Advocacy Center, DSA’s grassroots portal that will help company executives and distributors communicate with legislators on policies that impact their businesses.
  • Provide member companies with a grassroots advocacy checklist that will allow them to benchmark their advocacy involvement in association initiatives.
  • Start “Direct Sellers in Your District” program that will prominently feature member companies that host policymakers at their offices in support of advocacy initiatives.

Increased Political Involvement

  • Obtain permission to solicit forms from all DSA member companies and request each company set a goal of contributing $2,000 to the Direct Selling Association Political Action Committee. This will increase DSA’s ability to educate and ultimately gain support from legislators on policy priorities.

Advocacy Resources