Dollars to doubters? Megadonor Uihlein kicks in millions to help elect Republicans who question election results
More than $9 of every $10 megadonors Dick Uihlein and his wife Liz have contributed directly to congressional candidates running in the midterms have gone to Republicans who cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.
Lake Forest megadonors Dick Uihlein and his wife Liz have directly contributed more than $6.4 million this election cycle to help pack Congress with Republicans who either cast doubt on the legitimacy of the last presidential election or voted against certifying the results, Federal Election Commission records show.
The couple, prolific GOP donors and founders of the shipping company Uline, are of course attempting to win seats at a pivotal time in American politics — but they are also overwhelmingly fighting to fill those seats with candidates who have played a role in denying the results of the 2020 election, in word or by deed.
More than half of the 105 congressional candidates they’re supporting in the midterms fit that category. And even more significantly, 92% of the total $6,930,033.34 they contributed directly to candidates went to the 59 who have cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.
The $6,413,666 in contributions went directly to the 59 candidates’ victory funds, leadership PACs and single-candidate super PACs.
That includes $3,830,300 to support Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s reelection bid — $3 million from Dick Uihlein and $500,000 from Liz Uihlein to Wisconsin Truth PAC, in addition to contributions to the Ron Johnson Victory Fund and Johnson’s campaign itself.
Johnson, facing Democratic Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes in November, joined 10 other U.S. senators in vowing to reject presidential electors from “disputed states” when Congress met on Jan. 6, 2021 — but he ultimately did not object to the results after violence broke out. But last week, the House committee investigating the Capitol riot revealed Johnson’s chief of staff tried to deliver fake electoral ballots for Donald Trump.
Last week, Johnson also said it’s “inaccurate” to call the events of Jan. 6 — which left nine people dead — an “armed insurrection.”
“That’s not what an armed insurrection would look like,” Johnson said.
According to the latest Justice Department figures, about 272 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, including about 95 individuals who have been charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.
In addition to Johnson, the Uihleins also spent $1,085,200 to support U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and his political committee. The Louisiana Republican objected to the certification of Biden electors from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Other seven-figure contributions from the Uihleins include $1,011,600 supporting Herschel Walker’s U.S. Senate campaign in Georgia. That came in a $1 million to 34N22, a super PAC supporting Walker, and a max contribution of $5,800 each from Richard and Liz Uihlein directly to Walker’s campaign.
Walker, who was hand-picked by Trump to run, has questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election results — but has largely avoided the topic on the campaign trail as he tries to unseat Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
“I don’t know, did he? We need to ask my opponent did [Biden] win fair and square,” Walker has told reporters.
But on Jan. 4, 2021, Walker tweeted that there was “country wide election fraud.”
“America needs a total cleansing only @realDonaldTrump can do with the help of TRUE PATRIOTS,” Walker tweeted. “Let’s get back to real Law & Order and prosecute all the bad actors. Whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election have been rejected by courts across the country.
More than 60 lawsuits filed by Trump loyalists have failed to yield any evidence to back up their claims. The U.S. Supreme Court — a court on which Trump placed three justices — rejected a series of election challenge cases last year. And in recorded testimony before the House Jan. 6 committee, former Attorney General William Barr called the former president’s claims of a stolen election “b------.”
A total of 147 Republican members of Congress voted in favor of overturning Biden’s election victory, and the Uihleins have contributed to 34 of them.
That includes $17,000 to Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama; $11,600 to Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida; $11,600 to Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio; $11,600 to Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, and $16,000 to Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin. Another $11,600 from Dick Uihlein went to support Rep. Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota.
Dick Uihlein also individually contributed $5,800 each to Reps. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Byron Donalds of Florida, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Russ Fulcher of Idaho, Bob Good of Virginia, Mark Green of Tennessee, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Andy Harris of Maryland, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico, Clay Higgins of Louisiana, Mary Miller of Illinois, Barry Moore of Alabama, Troy Nehls of Texas, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Bill Posey of Florida, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Randy Weber of Texas and Andy Biggs of Arizona. Both Dick and Liz Uihlein also gave $5,800 each to Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona.
Smaller four-figure contributions from Dick Uihlein went to Reps Dan Bishop of North Carolina, Mike Bost of Illinois and Beth Van Duyne of Texas.
The Republicans who objected said they were following an example set by Democrats in 1968, 2000, 2004 and 2016 — but only a small number of Democrats objected during those years.
An additional 25 nonincumbent candidates who received contributions from the Uihleins are documented election deniers, including Mayra Flores, a U.S. House candidate in Texas who tweeted that “this election is not over” in late November 2020 and claimed on Dec. 1, 2020, that the “liberal media” wasn’t covering voter fraud claims in Arizona. Uihlein contributed $100,000 to Bienvenido Action PAC, which is solely supporting Flores, FEC records show. CNN reported Flores deleted her tweets leading up to January 2021.
Other election deniers with the Uihleins’ stamp of approval include Blake Masters, a U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona who as recently as last month said he still thinks Biden wasn’t fairly elected.
“I still believe the election was not free and not fair,” Masters told KTAR News. “I think if everybody followed the rules and the law as written, President [Donald] Trump would be in the Oval Office.”
The Uihleins also contributed $11,600 to Derrick Van Orden, a Trump-endorsed Wisconsin congressional candidate and retired Navy SEAL who attended the Capitol riot.
Van Orden has claimed he never went on restricted ground and left when the protest became violent, but the Daily Beast reported social media posts that indicated he was inside restricted grounds after the violence broke out. He has called that characterization “inaccurate,” without providing further details, the La Crosse Tribune reported.
The $6.9 million given directly to all 105 congressional candidates does not include the millions Uihlein has contributed to the Club for Growth, the National Republican Congressional Committee or any committees that supported multiple candidates.
In total, Uihlein has contributed $51,503,363 to Republicans or GOP-aligned political funds involved in federal elections this election cycle, making him the second-largest donor behind Democratic megadonor George Soros, according to campaign finance watchdog, OpenSecrets.
A nonpartisan report from Issue One last week also found Dick Uihlein contributed $7,000 to Rep. Jody Hice, who ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state in Georgia and $5,000 to Jim Marchant, GOP nominee for secretary of state in Nevada. Hice objected to the 2020 election results, and Marchant has falsely claimed Biden didn’t win Nevada.
In Illinois, Dick Uihlein has spent $57,472,887 this year alone to support state Republican candidates and to help boost state Sen. Darren Bailey’s GOP gubernatorial campaign, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. But he’s sent the bulk of that amount, $42,018,000, directly to People Who Play By the Rules, a super PAC that is running anti-Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot ads. Uihlein has also contributed $1 million to help fight a labor rights amendment on the November ballot.
In November 2020, Bailey discussed the election in a Facebook video, saying there was “fraudulent activity” that he found “absolutely disgusting.” The downstate farmer also said that he found the idea that Trump should concede to be “appalling.”
Bailey was endorsed by Trump during the primary — but has been coy about the former president and his own opinion on the 2020 election since winning the primary.
But pressed by reporters in August, Bailey told reporters he believes Biden is the “duly elected president.”
WBEZ last year also reported that Dick Uihlein contributed nearly $4.3 million to the political action committee of the Tea Party Patriots, an ultra-conservative group that participated in the rally that preceded the Capitol riot.
A spokesman for Dick Uihlein said the shipping magnate supports candidates who represent “looking forward.” He declined comment on the contributions and questions about whether he believes Biden won the presidency.