Monday’s Washington Post featured a profile of Richard Uihlein, “Meet the little-known ‘big fish’ megadonor setting the tone for GOP primary races,” replete with conservative adjectives.
Uihlein says he has “conservative priorities,” conservative priorities like “freedom of speech, limited government, sanctity of life and, also, Second Amendment rights.” The article says he “espouses anti-union, free-market and small-government views” and supports candidates who will be “good leaders, principled leaders” born out of his and his wife, Liz’s, “deep care for the country.”
Uihlein didn’t support Donald Trump for President, preferring Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ted Cruz instead.
Uihlein’s good friend, John Tillman, who runs the Illinois Policy Institute, largely funded by Uihlein’s wallet was one of Bruce Rauner’s biggest supporters, helped ensure his election and received millions in donations from Rauner and his buddies as early as 2009.
Of Uihlein, Johnny Tillman gushes, ” Dick does believe in the underdog and likes to give people a chance no one else would.”
Uihlein destroys conservatism in Illinois.
The Washington Post fails to mention one critical thing: How Richard Uihlein and his minions destroyed the conservative base in Illinois, how Uihlein helped destroyed what was left of the Illinois GOP, and how he helped elect one of the most liberal faux Republicans in the history of this country. In pursuit of money and political power, Uihlein and his money groupies have done irreversible damage to conservatives values and principles in Illinois.
At best, Rauner was a far left donor when he decided to run as a Republican for Governor. He was a mega-donor to Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union. He was a strong supporter of abortion rights and illegal immigrants. Rauner was no social conservative and there was no hiding that. Prior to his Rauner gave money to Democrats such as Sen. Dick Durbin, Richard Daley, Forrest Claypool, Rahm Emanuel, and swapped donations for public pension contracts with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Rauner was a big DNC donor too; he donated $65,000 to the Democrat National Committee and the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee.
Rauner’s past as a Democrat wasn’t hidden.
This was not a secret. Rauner hid nothing from Richard Uihlein and still, Uihlein supported Bruce Rauner. Uihlein was Rauner’s second biggest contributor after billionaire Ken Griffin, another Democrat pretending to be a Republican.
Real GOP Illinois doesn’t believe Richard Uihlein is really a conservative. A conservative would have seen Bruce Rauner coming and walked away. A real conservative would never have donated millions to Bruce Rauner’s campaign or served on his advisory board in the first place.
Richard Uihlein bankrolls John Tillman’s Illinois Policy Institute, another group that is in bed with Governor Rauner. Illinois Opportunity Project, a subgroup of the Illinois Policy Institute, serves as Rauner’s attack arm. The group donated $1 million to former Rep. Ken Dunkin, a left-wing Democrat with a violent criminal record at Rauner’s behest.
Uihlein also donates millions to Dan Proft and his group Liberty Principles PAC, another surrogate group for Rauner. Using millions donated by Rauner and Uihlein, Liberty Principles PAC attacks – no, destroys – underfunded conservative candidates in GOP primaries with false and misleading negative ads. He funds Think Freely Media, which is used to spread political pamphlets disguised as newspapers, targeted to voters in key Illinois house and senate districts, used to attack Rauner’s enemies and help his allies. It’s Uihlein’s cash that funds these despicable, unprincipled fights.
Bad advisors, lust for power – or both?
In 2017, Crain’s political reporter, Greg Hinz, revealed that a political deal between Governor Bruce Rauner, John Tillman, and Dan Proft had soured.
As part of that, I reported chatter—with some sources confirming, but Rauner and others denying—that there’d been a political understanding in which activist Dan Proft and others would raise $30 million for next year’s Republican campaigns and, in exchange, “pretty much run the legislative races and IPI staffers would come into senior government jobs.”
This isn’t conservative. It isn’t pro-life. It isn’t anti-illegal immigration. It is ugly and rotten.
What did Richard Uihlein get in return for his donations to Rauner? The passage of SB31, the “Trust Act,” and Illinois’ new status as a sanctuary state and HB40, expanding taxpayer-funded abortions.
This is Richard Uihlein’s evil castle. He built this.
Why did Uihlein do this? Was it greed? Was it a thirst for power? Was it bad advice or all of the above?
Uihlein’s legacy isn’t conservatism. It isn’t helping the underdog. It isn’t free markets or the sanctity of life. His legacy is Bruce Rauner and the end of conservatism in Illinois.
Enjoy it, Dick.