Senate Republicans Must Disavow GOP Mega-Donor Uihlein, Who Helped Bankroll Groups That Fueled U.S. Capitol Insurrection
It’s not just embattled NRSC Chair Rick Scott who’s facing growing questions about his role in fueling last week’s insurrection attempt. New reporting this week reveals that Senate GOP mega-donor Dick Uihlein was “the primary source of political funding” for a fringe right-wing group that participated in the recent attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol. Uihlein himself has also contributed millions of dollars in recent years to Republican Senate candidates, GOP-aligned Super PACs and the NRSC.
Uihlein is “the single biggest donor” to the Tea Party Patriots, funneling millions of dollars to one of the main groups that participated in the attempt to overturn the election. As one expert noted, “the group lent its name to a rally that led to an insurrection…donors bear some responsibility for the activity of the groups they fund.” Uihlein was also a major donor to Turning Point Action, whose founder “took credit for ‘sending 80+ buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president’.”
“Senate Republicans and the NRSC have benefited from millions from GOP mega-donor Dick Uihlein and his network, whose money also bankrolled key players in this attack,” said DSCC spokesperson Helen Kalla. “After Uihlein helped underwrite organizations participating in the violent unrest at the Capitol just last week, Senate Republicans have no choice but to disavow Uihlein and refuse any further donations from him or his network.”
WBEZ: Chicago-Area Billionaire Gave Millions To ‘Patriots’ Group That Backed Pro-Trump Rally
- A billionaire businessman from the Chicago area has been the primary source of political funding for an ultra-conservative group that participated in the “March to Save America” rally that preceded last week’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, documents show.
- Dick Uihlein — the Republican mega-donor who lives in north suburban Lake Forest and is CEO of the Uline business supplies company — has contributed nearly $4.3 million in the past five years to the political action committee of the Tea Party Patriots, including $800,000 in October, according to Federal Election Commission records.
- On the website for the rally, the Tea Party Patriots were among 11 groups listed as “participating in the March to Save America” as part of the “#StopTheSteal coalition.”
- They urged a big show of force in Washington on Wednesday “to let the establishment know we will fight back against this fraudulent election.”
- Wednesday’s violent unrest has sparked heated debates over the culpability of Trump and his backers who falsely alleged that he actually won the election.
- The Tea Party Patriots did not return messages, and Uihlein did not reply to questions sent by WBEZ to a spokeswoman for his company.
- Uihlein and his wife, Liz, have been among the biggest political donors in the country and in Illinois campaigns for years.
- Dick Uihlein has shelled out more than $136 million to federal candidates and campaign committees, according to FEC records.
- That’s made Uihlein by far the single biggest donor to the Tea Party Patriots’ PAC in each of the last three two-year federal election cycles, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.
- Records show the Tea Party Patriots had contributed in recent years to Trump and to Republican lawmakers, including members of Congress who sought to overturn Biden’s victories in hotly contested states. They included Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Mo Brooks of Alabama, whom House Democrats want to censure for his remarks at the Trump rally.
- “The group lent its name to a rally that led to an insurrection,” said Don Wiener, a researcher with the left-leaning Center for Media and Democracy in Madison, Wis. “Donors bear some responsibility for the activity of the groups they fund.”
- Another group that participated in the rally was Turning Point Action, a sister organization of the far-right Turning Point USA group. Between 2014 and 2016, Uihlein’s foundation donated $275,000 to Turning Point USA.
- In a tweet he later deleted, Kirk took credit for “sending 80+ buses full of patriots to DC to fight for this president” last Wednesday.