FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (AP) – The billionaire founder of the 5-hour Energy drink and his Michigan-based companies have given millions to candidates for state office and political groups across the country, but he remains little-known in his home state.
Manoj Bhargava and his companies have given at least $5.3 million since 2009, according to an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity. The organization found that while few have given as much at the state level, Bhargava avoids the spotlight.
Only a fraction of the donations – weighted toward Republicans – were made in Bhargava’s name or by companies overseeing production and marketing of 5-hour Energy. Numerous Michigan politicians say they barely know Bhargava.
Bhargava did not respond to multiple calls and emails seeking comment about his political giving.