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News Thursday, Jun 7 2018

Mega-Donor Uihleins Are Spending Big To "Spawn, Nurture and Deliver" Kevin Nicholson

Jun 07, 2018

Kevin Nicholson’s top patrons are bigoted billionaires
seeking to “bend the world their way”

NYT: The Most Powerful Conservative Couple You’ve Never Heard Of

By Stephanie Saul and Danny Hakim | June 7, 2018

  • Meet Illinois-based mega-donors Liz and Dick Uihlein, who “want to bend the world their way.
  • Liz and Dick are what you might call eccentric billionaires. Or racists: “Mrs. Uihlein purchased [a hotel] amid widespread rumors in the town that a Pakistani buyer was interested.” According to an email from Liz Uihlein to the Chamber of Commerce: “‘I bought the motel as a defensive move for Manitowish Waters because the owner … was going to sell to what several of us, including the Mayor, thought was not in the best interests of the town.’”
  • While Liz Uihlein “protected” the couple’s summer town, Dick “immersed himself in hyperlocal politics touching on race and social issues.
  • Opposing gay and transgender rights was frequently a focus” of Dick Uihlein’s political efforts.
  • The Uihleins “have spent roughly $26 million on the current election cycle, supporting more than 60 congressional candidates, working outside the party establishment to advance a combative, hard-right conservatism.”
  • “They have their own brand of political engineering, with candidates and tactics sometimes audaciously distorting the truth.
  • “Nowhere is that clearer than in Wisconsin,” where the Uihleins hand-picked Kevin Nicholson to run for U.S. Senate. Nicholson “was a virtual unknown until Uihlein millions made him viable overnight, starting with a $2 million donation in March of 2017 to a new “super PAC” seeking to elect him. At the time he had not even announced his candidacy.”
  • The Uihleins’ multi-million dollar donations to super PACS supporting Nicholson and attacking his opponents are “perhaps testing the concept of whether big money — theirs — can spawn, nurture and deliver a winning candidate.
  • According to Colin Williams, policy director of Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, Dick Uihlien’s activities “‘are riding the fine line between legal and illegal, and coordinated and not coordinated, in terms of political messaging allowed under state and federal campaign finance laws.’”

Read the full story here.

Published: Jun 7, 2018

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