January 21, 2022

[Video above from 2018. -- eds.]

Yesterday the Daily Beast published a story linking Dick Uihlein, who've made a fortune from shipping and office supplies, to Donald Trump's efforts to steal the 2020 presidential election.

... between January and May 2020, Uihlein contributed $1.25 million to the Conservative Partnership Institute, a right-wing think tank founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) where Trump campaign attorney Cleta Mitchell was serving as senior legal fellow.

Mitchell ... drew national attention in early January 2021 after she featured heavily in a taped phone call between then-President Donald Trump, his Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and Georgia’s top election officials. Trump pressured the election officials in that now infamous call to “find” enough votes for him to win Georgia. (Meadows joined Mitchell at CPI after he left the White House in January.) ...

He also pushed $50,000 to the Texas Public Policy Forum, which in October 2020 collaborated with radical conservative think-tank the Claremont Institute on research into the constitutional viability of an election challenge road map that ran all the way through Inauguration Day.

The Beast noted that Uihlein and his wife, Liz, give to The Federalist, The American Conservative, and other right-wing media outlets, as well as to such groups as Judicial Watch and Frank Gaffney's Islamophobic organization the Center for Security Policy.

On Twitter, I pointed out that the Uihleins funded early efforts to block anti-COVID public health measures. The Guardian reported on this in April 2020:

Liz Uihlein, the billionaire behind Wisconsin’s Uline shipping and packaging company – who with her husband, Richard, has been dubbed the most “powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of” – is using her clout to try to force Wisconsin’s Democratic governor to relax stay-at-home rules, claiming that the crisis has been “overhyped” by the media.

Her actions – from lobbying Republican legislators in the state to circulating a petition to employees to have the governor, Tony Evers, removed from office – come as two protests have been organized against the Democratic governor on Friday.

While organizers of both protests have claimed they are part of a “grassroots” movement, another prominent Trump supporter and friend of the Uihleins, Stephen Moore, ... has said a “large Wisconsin donor” was supporting the protests.

Asked by the Guardian whether the Uihleins were supporting the effort, Moore said he had not disclosed the donor and hung up.

The story that called the Uihleins "the most powerful conservative couple you’ve never heard of" ran in The New York Times in 2018 [see video above - eds.] , yet more than three years later they still seem to be unknown. People who've bought Uline products don't seem to know who they are or what they do -- they know about the Koch brothers, and maybe about Robert and Rebekah Mercer or the late Sheldon Adelson, but the Uihleins aren't on their radar.

I don't think it's generally acknowledged on our side that billionaires have driven the right-wing response to the pandemic, out of the same contempt for worker and customer safety that we see elsewhere in corporate America. They want their money and they don't care if we get sick or die as long as it costs them little or nothing, so of course, they wanted to challenge public health initiatives. We blame Trump, and these days we also blame Fox News, for America's struggles with the virus, but politicized billionaires drove the right's messaging (including Trump's) and funded the Astroturf organizations that helped make America one of the worst COVID countries in the developed world.

The Uihleins are bad people. Don't buy Uline products and toss the company's catalogs if you receive them. And tell your friends who they are and what they do.

Republished with permission from No More Mister Nice Blog.

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