Richard Uihlein, a shipping and office supply magnate, poured $26.4 million into Republican campaigns in 2016. In 2017, he has continued to bankroll Steve Bannon-supported candidates, with the FEC reporting $100,000 in donations since September alone, through a new far-right PAC called “Proven Conservative.” Most of those recent donations have gone to fund pro-Roy Moore ads in Alabama, as well as ads attacking Moore’s Republican primary rival, Luther Strange, and Democratic general election opponent, Doug Jones.
Uihlein did not let a little thing like child molestation deter his support for Moore. After eight credible accusers named Moore as the man who molested and attempted to rape them when they were teenagers, the Illinois billionaire continued to channel his considerable fortune to help sway the tightly contested Alabama Senate race for Moore.
The 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision deemed political contributions “speech” that could be freely and unlimitedly distributed toward campaign ads without reporting the funds’ sources.
Billionaires like the Kochs, the Mercers, and Uihlein can use their sizable fortunes to tip the political scales in their favor by dividing the rabble along “culture war” lines, encouraging working- and middle-class white people to vote against their own interests in the name of misogyny and bigotry, so that the 1% can run away with the spoils of war, as they are poised to do if the Senate tax bill passes.
We must out these morality-free big donors wherever we see them. We must fight to keep the tax bill from passing right now. Then we must flip the House and Senate in 2018, in order to impeach President Trump and Vice President Pence, and overturn Citizens United, moving this country closer to campaign finance reform.
Only by taking big money out of politics can we begin to reclaim our government by the people and for the people.
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