Billionaire who funded Jan. 6 rally buys $450,000 in ads for Landry in La. governor’s race

By: - October 13, 2023 3:56 pm
Illinois billionaire Richard “Dick” Uihlein has bought $450,000 worth of advertising that supports Attorney General Jeff Landry in the governor’s race. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)

Illinois billionaire Richard “Dick” Uihlein has bought $450,000 worth of advertising that supports Attorney General Jeff Landry in the governor’s race. (Wes Muller/Louisiana Illuminator)

A conservative Illinois billionaire with a history of funding candidates and groups seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election spent $450,000 on advertisements backing Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry in the Louisiana governor’s race, state campaign records show.

Richard “Dick” Uihlein is the financial backer of the Iowa-based Americas PAC, which paid the Kansas-based advertising firm VCreek $450,000 on Sept. 18 to produce and distribute media content supporting Landry, according to the political action committee’s campaign finance report.

Landry is one of six major candidates, and among four Republicans, running in Saturday’s primary election for governor.

“We believe that Jeff Landry is the best person to be governor,” Americas PAC treasurer Tom Donelson said in a written statement to the Illuminator. Landry is the strongest candidate on “energy independence” and will keep Louisiana as a leading energy producer, he said.

Uihlein and his wife, Liz, own the Wisconsin-based box and packaging company Uline and are some of the largest donors to conservative causes and candidates in the country.

Since 2016, the couple has spent $250 million on federal candidates and political groups, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit organization that tracks political funding. Dick Uihlein alone gave $82 million in the 2022 elections, making him the second largest individual political donor of any kind behind Democrat George Soros during that cycle.

An heir to the Schlitz Brewing Co. fortune, Dick Uihlein has a reputation for supporting disruptive, controversial Republicans, including those who challenge more mainstream GOP candidates.

The Midwest mogul has financially supported several groups that push disproven theories about voter fraud, including organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally that took place in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, right before a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Uihlein also bankrolled the Voter Reference Foundation, which published millions of voters’ names, birthdates, addresses and voting histories for public consumption, ProPublica reported.

In other Deep South states, Uihlein has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to firebrand politicians such as Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who tried to overturn a 2014 U.S. Senate election after he lost the race to incumbent Republican Thad Cochran.

He also donated to a super PAC backing Alabama U.S. Senate Candidate Roy Moore, even after allegations surfaced that Moore had been sexually inappropriate with girls as young as 14.

Certain social issues have also led to contributions from the couple. Dick Uihlein has pushed back on gay and transgender rights and contributes heavily to candidates and groups opposed to the transgender community. Liz Uihlein publicly opposes the legalization of marijuana.

The Uihleins’ conservative stances are reflected in their company culture. ProPublica reported women who work at Uline can only wear pants on Fridays or as part of a pantsuit. Hose and stockings are also required for women outside of the warmer months, and corduroy is banned for all employees.

The Landry campaign, which is prohibited from legally coordinating with the Americas PAC, declined to comment on the Uihleins’ support this week. The Uihleins could not be reached through messages left at their company.


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Julie O'Donoghue
Julie O'Donoghue

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator. She’s received awards from the Virginia Press Association and Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press.