Super PAC funded by anti-abortion billionaire spends millions to attack Tammy Baldwin - TAI News
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The far-right political action committee Restoration PAC has launched a $3 million ad campaign falsely accusing Wisconsin Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of diverting funds from Medicare to develop electric vehicles. The super PAC has received nearly all of its funding from one conservative megadonor, shipping supply billionaire Richard Uihlein.

Baldwin is up for reelection this November. Her likely Republican opponent after the Senate primaries on Aug. 13 will be millionaire banker Eric Hovde.

Restoration PAC’s ad implicitly criticizes Baldwin’s 2022 vote for President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which allowed the federal government to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients and boosted investments in clean energy and affordable health care. A narrator says: “Rising prices are squeezing seniors across Wisconsin, but Tammy Baldwin couldn’t care less. Why else would Baldwin vote to use Medicare money for electric vehicle subsidies instead of seniors?”

The charge that Baldwin voted to divert money away from Medicare is false. While Medicare’s authority to negotiate lower prescription drug prices will save the government money, it will not result in any reduction in services for beneficiaries and will actually cap their out-of-pocket costs. It will also save money for Americans who purchase electric vehicles, switch to solar power, or purchase energy-efficient heat pumps.

According to its filings with the Federal Election Commission, Restoration PAC took in about $15 million between January 2023 and March 2024. Dick Uihlein contributed more than $13 million of that total. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

On its Instagram feed, the PAC says that the term “abortion rights” is a euphemism for murder and that right-wing book banning efforts are really just about keeping pornography away from kids.

In recent years, the Uihleins have been among the largest donors to Republican causes. According to the nonprofit site OpenSecrets, their $44.5 million in federal contributions ranked them fourth in the country among GOP donors for the 2023-2024 campaign cycle. With $86 million in donations in 2021-2022, they ranked second for that period.

In addition to contributions made directly to candidates, the Uihleins have donated extensively to Republican Party committees and to outside super PACs. Restoration PAC and other Uihlein-linked committees spent at least $6 million in support of Wisconsin conservative Supreme Court candidate Dan Kelly in his unsuccessful race against Janet Protasiewicz in 2023 and have been the largest funder of Women Speak Out PAC, the super PAC connected with the anti-abortion group SBA Pro-Life America.

Baldwin is a strong supporter of abortion rights and is a lead sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would restore the protections previously affirmed by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade

Likely Republican nominee Hovde said in 2012 that he was “totally opposed to abortion”; he has since backtracked and now says he backs some exceptions to a ban on the procedure.

Uihlein’s past financial support for Republicans has paid dividends. In 2017, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson successfully inserted a provision into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to slash rates for pass-through entities, businesses that pay taxes through the personal filings of their owners. After President Donald Trump signed the tax cuts into law, the Uihleins saved more than $43 million in 2018 alone, according to a 2021 ProPublica analysis of tax records.

Baldwin opposed the 2017 tax law, noting, “The Republican plan is largely a tax giveaway to the wealthiest few and powerful corporations, while millions of middle-class families would get a tax hike.” 

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in 2024, and his GOP allies are now pushing to make those tax cuts permanent. 

In 2012, Hovde endorsed similar tax cuts for top earners and corporations.

In a May 2, 2024, radio interview, he called for more “pro-growth tax policies,” tax cuts for businesses that conservatives claim will boost the economy and trickle down to workers.

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