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Billionaires Behaving Badly

Twelve mega-wealthy men and women who have put their fortunes toward questionable causes.

Morally questionable and manipulative behavior is unsightly in any segment of society, but seen among billionaires, it's infuriating -- and possibly dangerous. Beginning with the now infamous Koch brothers -- recently outed for anonymously bank-rolling climate change skeptics and so-called "grass roots" organizations that propel the Tea Party's popularity -- we look at the billionaires whose past (in some cases, current) misdeeds might be labeled undemocratic at best, criminal at worst. (In each case, the "bad" behavior in question has not led to anything more than some expensive fines and bad press. No jail time in the bunch.)

You may be surprised to see respected New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, on the list. Few would expect to find Stewart and Lydia Resnick -- the owners of Fiji water and Pom, the pomegranate drink -- in this company, either. Even John Paulson, who technically did not break any laws when he bet big against the subprime market (while selling investments his own firm was shorting), has his staunch defenders. Click through the headlines below to find out why we chose the wealthy figures we did, and let us know if you agree with our decisions. Are these billionaires behaving badly?

The Koch Brothers
They guard their right to pollute with anonymous donations to climate change deniers, anti-regulation lobby groups and "grass roots" Tea Party meetings.
By Matthew Mallon
John Paulson
He thought the subprime mortgage market was going to fail, so he stepped up to the plate and... made himself rich.
By Steve Burgess
Sheldon Adelson
The owner of Las Vegas Sands is relatively unknown in the U.S. In Israel, his name inspires self-censorship.
By Ryan Goldberg
Marc Rich
Famously pardoned by Bill Clinton, the "king of oil" traded with brutal regimes without any regard for U.S. laws or, some say, common decency.
By Ryan Goldberg
Meg Whitman
The former eBay chief and current candidate in California's gubernatorial race has been accused of abuse and hypocrisy -- and that was before the illegal maid crisis erupted.
By Diane Bullock
Michael Bloomberg
We know, we know -- he's been a wonderful mayor. Tolerant. Generous. Decisive. So why is he on this list?
By Diane Bullock
T. Boone Pickens
His new focus on wind power has won over environmentalists, but the eccentric billionaire remains unforgiven for some former sins.
By Steve Burgess
Lakshmi Mittal
Of this steel magnate's offenses, he who smelt it, dealt it.
By Mike Schuster
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi says he reached the pinnacle of success though hard work and determination. But a bit of bribery and corruption never hurts, either.
By Justin Rohrlich
Lynda and Stewart Resnick
Are the owners of Fiji water and Pom juice practicing clever marketing? Or are they lying to consumers and ripping off Fijians?
By Diane Bullock
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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