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Ackman vs. Herbalife: HLF Spends 10x in Washington Lobbying

Stocks in this article: HLF

Politicians popular among Pershing employees such as Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), haven't been a part of the Herbalife conversation.

Shane Dinneen, the Harvard-educated Pershing analyst who researched Herbalife for Ackman, donated of $5,200.00 to Sen. Booker. Dinneen was among a handful of Pershing employees, including Ackman and general counsel Klafter, to make maximum individual contributions to Booker's election campaign in 2013.

Booker has generally been among the best placed Democrats to advocate on behalf of Wall Street, and has made no public comments about Herbalife to date. Ackman has been a supporter of Booker going back to his days as mayor of Newark, N.J.

Herbalife's shares are roughly a third higher than they were when Ackman unveiled his billion dollar short trade in December of 2012.

Since that disclosure, investors as prominent as Carl Icahn and Dan Loeb of Third Point Management have taken positions against Ackman in a very public manner. After an insider trading scandal at Herbalife's former auditor -- an issue that had nothing to do with Herbalife - the company was able to successfully re-file its financial results with its new auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers, potentially paving the way for an increased stock buyback, according to analysts who cover the stock.

So far, Pershing Square is losing its battle against Herbalife. The company has realized between $400 million and $500 million in losses on its short trade in Herbalife, while paring the funds future exposure to the company through swaps and options.

Still, Ackman has said he won't give up on his bet against Herbalife. Any political groundswell against the company in 2014 might play to Pershing's benefit.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

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