WisDems: Nicholson Megadonor wins case undercutting working families

Contact: Brad Bainum, bradb@wisdems.org

Illinois billionaire Dick Uihlein bankrolls Janus v. AFSCME attack on working people 

“Every Wisconsinite should be deeply concerned about the extent to which Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson is bought-and-paid-for by Illinois billionaire Dick Uihlein”

MADISON — Illinois billionaire Dick Uihlein is spending big to buy Republican Kevin Nicholson a U.S. Senate seat here in Wisconsin, but that isn’t Uihlein’s only prolific spending to advance a corporate special interest, anti-working families agenda. Dick Uihlein is also “the chief financial backer […] of the Liberty Justice Center,” the organization that today won a dangerous, anti-working people’s ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision.

In Janus, the Court’s majority today ruled to overturn Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The result is the culmination of a lengthy corporate special interest and right-wing billionaire-funded assault on working families that will diminish public-sector working people’s freedom to join together in a strong union.

Powerful corporate interests and right-wing megadonors like Dick Uihlein funded Janus with the goal of undermining working people’s rights and public service employees’ ability to negotiate better wages and benefits. According to the New York Times, “Few philanthropists have funded a more sweeping assault on labor than Mr. Uihlein.”

The Janus decision has the potential to bring so-called “right to work” to the public sector — an implication that would be devastating for working families as so-called “right to work” states have lower wages. Here in Wisconsin, ultraconservative U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir is proudly running on her support for Wisconsin’s “right-to-work” law, even though the law has been measured to depress wages in a “significant” way versus what working people are earning in non “right-to-work” states.

A major out-of-state player in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, Uihlein has since 2017 invested more than $20 million across 11 groups that are propping up the primary campaign of Vukmir’s Senate challenger, Kevin Nicholson. And Uihlein has already spent more than $5 million on TV and radio ads on Nicholson’s behalf.

“Every Wisconsinite should be deeply concerned about the extent to which Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson is bought-and-paid-for by Illinois billionaire Dick Uihlein — an ultraconservative ideologue and prolific megadonor who’s deeply committed to undermining working people’s rights, eliminating Social Security, and phasing out health care programs that Wisconsin families rely on,” said Brad Bainum, DPW spokesperson for the 2018 U.S. Senate race. “But Leah Vukmir is no better — she has a controlling billionaire megadonor of her own, not to mention a decade-plus record of legislating corporate special interests’ anti-working families agenda.”

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