E. Robert Smith is a novelist, real estate investor, and consumer/environmental advocate. He also spent a number of years as a successful multilevel marketing (MLM) recruiter/promoter. In his recently published whistleblower novel, Downline, he combines his writing skill, his consumer advocacy, and his experience in the world of MLM in exposing the industry’s ethical corruption and illegality. The novel plays out before the Permanent Senate Subcommittee on Investigations, where powerful legal arguments are made proving that most, if not all, MLM companies are operating illegally. E. Robert, along with such consumer advocates as Robert Fitzpatrick and Dr. Jon Taylor, believes that the problem of MLM will ultimately require congressional action, and that this will put an end to an 120 billion dollar a year industry; several companies of which are U.S. based and publically traded. One of these companies is Herbalife, which hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, has shorted for one billion dollars.