Uihlein-funded super PAC dumping cash into local congressional races

  • Richard Uihlein

    Richard Uihlein

 
 
Updated 11/1/2022 5:07 PM

A political action committee largely funded by conservative Lake Forest billionaire Richard Uihlein dumped at least $526,580 into five Chicago-area congressional races last month, records show.

The Restoration PAC paid for digital advertising, direct mail and door hangers promoting or opposing candidates in Illinois' 3rd, 6th, 10th, 11th and 14th congressional districts, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

 

The amounts spent per race varied. Some rose into six-figure territory.

What is a super PAC?

While traditional political action committees' fundraising and spending are limited by law, Downers Grove-based Restoration PAC is a super PAC that legally can raise unlimited sums of money from companies, groups and individuals.

Unlike individuals and traditional PACs, super PACs also can spend unlimited amounts on races. But they can't directly contribute to or coordinate with political parties or candidates.

That means groups like Restoration PAC can fund the production of TV ads, digital ads, mailers and other communication tools on behalf of candidates as long as they don't work on the efforts with the campaigns.

Restoration PAC is associated with a group called Restoration of America. On its website, Restoration bills itself as a nonpartisan political action committee that "advocates for policy changes and/or the election or defeat of candidates on the basis of time-tested conservative principles." It opposes "leftists and the woke agenda."

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An heir to the Schlitz brewing fortune and the co-founder of the Uline shipping supply company, Uihlein is Restoration PAC's largest donor. In October alone, he gave the group more than $8.6 million, records show.

Illinois activity

Last month, Restoration PAC spent $61,691 on digital ads, direct mail and door hangers in Illinois' 3rd District race, which features Democrat Delia Ramirez of Chicago and Republican Justin Burau of Winfield.

The group spent $183,083 on ads and mail pieces in the 6th District race, which pits Democratic incumbent Sean Casten of Downers Grove against Republican challenger Keith Pekau of Orland Park.

It spent $98,110 on ads and mail pieces in the 10th District race, which features Democratic incumbent Brad Schneider of Highland Park and Republican Joe Severino of Lake Forest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Restoration PAC spent $153,190 on ads and mail pieces in the 11th District contest, in which Democratic incumbent Bill Foster of Naperville is being challenged by Republican Catalina Lauf of Woodstock.

Finally, it spent $30,506 in the 14th District race, which features Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood of Naperville and Republican challenger Scott Gryder of Oswego.

Other races

Restoration PAC has gotten involved in races outside Illinois this election cycle, too.

For example, it reported spending $300,000 last month to produce and place digital ads in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race, which pits Republican Mehmet Oz against Democrat John Fetterman.

Elsewhere in October, Restoration PAC reported spending:

• $150,000 on digital ads in Arizona's U.S. Senate race, which features Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly and Republican challenger Blake Masters.

• $75,000 on digital ads in Nevada's U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Adam Laxalt.

• $484,838 on TV ads in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan and Republican Don Bolduc.

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