Restoration PAC is a super political action committee based in Oak Brook, Illinois. It has the stated goal to "independently sponsor political activities that advocate for the election or defeat of candidates across the country on the basis of adherence to the Blueprint for the Restoration of America.” Since 2016, the PAC has been dominated by right-wing mega-donor and industrialist Richard Uihlein. Restoration PAC was created in 2015 by Restoration Action, a social welfare 501(c)(4) organization. Both Restoration PAC and Restoration Action are led by Doug Truax, an Army veteran and former healthcare consultant.
The Blueprint for the Restoration of America, which forms the ideological basis of Restoration PAC's political activities, contains numerous outlandish goals. These include, "Aggressively kill Islamic terrorists anywhere in the world," "Keep every option on the table at all times," "Ban government unions and eliminate the Department of Education," "Amend the constitution to require a balanced federal budget, term limits, and that all laws apply equally to Congress and the President," and "Reduce every federal tax by 25%."
- 1 News and Controversies
- 2 Ties to Richard Uihlein
- 3 History
- 4 Funding
- 5 Core Financials
- 6 Personnel
- 7 Contact Information
- 8 Articles and Resources
- 9 References
News and Controversies
2018 Wisconsin Senate Campaign
In March 2017, Restoration PAC supported an attack ad on Tammy Baldwin which stated she "supported legislation allowing citizens to withhold funding for our troops." The ad cites a 2009 version of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, which did not become law. The bill would have allowed conscientious objectors registered with the Treasury Department to direct their tax dollars away from the military. Critics argued that it would block medical supplies and body armor for troops. However, under the terms of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act, it would have been possible for lawmakers to secure all the desired funding for military activities, including body armor and medical supplies, for the troops from other allocated funds of money. Groups advocating for the legislation said at the time the bill is mostly a "feel good" measure and would not "directly decrease the amount of money spent on war." Roberton Williams, a fellow at the nonprofit Tax Policy Center, said bill’s effect would be "symbolic at best." Because Restoration PAC overplayed the significance of the bill in their attack ad on Baldwin, PolitiFact gave them a "Mostly False" rating.
Restoration PAC spent a total of $4.2 million on the Wisconsin primary campaign cycle, opposing Baldwin and supporting Kevin Nicholson in the Republican primary. After his loss to Leah Vukmir, Doug Traux stated, "We congratulate Leah Vukmir on a hard-fought primary victory and urge all Republicans to unite behind her candidacy. Restoration PAC remains opposed to ultra-liberal Sen. Tammy Baldwin and we are committed to defeating her in November.”
2018 West Virginia Senate Campaign
Restoration PAC and Richard Uihlein were part of a massive flood of spending supporting Republican candidate for Senate in West Virginia Patrick Morrissey and attacking his rival, Senator Joe Manchin. Restoration PAC spent $528,685 on behalf of Morrisey and another $18,500 against Manchin. This formed part of a $1.6 million effort by Uihlein, directed through various PACs to influence the election in West Virginia.
$500,000 of the Restoration PAC money spent in West Virginia was for an ad attacking Manchin for "faking" West Virginia values. The ad stated "in West Virginia, you have a choice: someone who fakes West Virginia values around election time or someone who lives them every day. Patrick Morrisey is the real deal."
Re-Election campaign of Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
In July 2015, Restoration PAC launched an ad praising Johnson for his opposition to the Iran deal. The ad contained a doctored image of President Obama, which the PAC later removed. The image featured President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani smiling and shaking hands. Not only was the image fake but Obama and Rouhani had never met before. The ad was given a "Pants On Fire" rating by PolitiFact. In the Wisconsin State Journal, a spokesman for the group stated that "the image was widely circulated on the Internet, so the organization didn’t realize it was forged.”
In support of Johnson, Doug Traux stated, "History teaches us that weak deals with fanatical regimes bent on the destruction of the West are worse than no deals. America's weakness on the world stage brings us closer to war, not peace. Ron Johnson understands this and Restoration PAC is supporting those who understand our history."
Baseless Attacks on Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
In an October 2016 attack ad, Restoration PAC accused Colorado Senator Michael Bennet of supporting "the (Washington) insiders over our generals" in the battle with the Islamic State. The ad provided little evidence of Bennet ignoring generals and supporting the amorphously described "insiders." PolitiFact asked for proof from Restoration PAC about its accusations. The PAC responded by arguing that Bennet supported President Obama's withdrawal of forces from Iraq which emboldend the Islamic State, over the objections of several generals and unnamed military officials. PolitiFact pointed out that Obama's withdrawal of troops was prearranged by President Bush's Stats of Forces agreement in 2008. It was also favored by three quarters of Americans at the time. PolitiFact rated the ad "Mostly False", stating "Bennet has advocated for a strong defense against terrorism, passed legislation to prevent potential terrorists from using the Visa Waiver Program to easily enter the United States and backs initiatives to counter extremists from recruiting people online. It's a big stretch to say that because Bennet supported the withdrawal and welcomed home U.S. troops after a long war, he chose Washington insiders "over our generals."
Ties to Richard Uihlein
Restoration PAC is almost exclusively funded by right-wing mega-donor and industrialist Richard Uihlein. He is the CEO of Uline, a shipping and business supply company. The control he exerts over Restoration PAC and similar groups have led to multiple accusations that Uihlein is trying to buy elections. According to OpenSecrets, between September 2017 and July 2018, Uihlein donated $5,625,000 to Restoration PAC. Uihlein-affiliated groups have sometimes tried to refute these claims.
Restoration PAC was founded in January 2015. Prior to running the PAC, Doug Traux ran in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat for Illinois but lost to state Sen. Jim Oberweis, who was ultimately defeated by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin in the general election. In the 2016 election cycle, Restoration PAC raised approximately $4 million. Expenditures totaling $1,661,900 were made in favor of Colorado senate candidate Darryl Glenn and opposing Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Darryl Glenn, the Republican Senate nominee in Colorado, lost to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.
Restoration PAC receives the majority of its funding from Richard Uihlein. For example, during the 2016 election cycle, Restoration PAC received $3,982,500 in donations. Richard Uihlein donated $3,750,000, while $232,500 was from other sources. As of August 28, 2018, during the 2018 election cycle, Restoration PAC received $5,660,000. Richard Uihlein donated $5,625,000 while $35,000 was from other sources.
01/01/2017 to 07/31/2018:
Beginning Cash on Hand: $249,605.13
Ending Cash on Hand: $608,482.26
Debts/Loans Owed to Committee: $0.00
Debts/Loans Owed By Committee: $16,581.23
- Doug Traux, President
- Sherry Gaskill, Treasurer
18 W. 140 Butterfield Rd., Suite 1500
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois 60181
Articles and Resources
- David Armiak, Megadonor Uihlein’s PAC Spends $5 Million in First Quarter, ExposedbyCMD, April 15, 2022.
- Alex Kotch, Billionaires Bet Big to Influence 2022 Elections, ExposedbyCMD, February 22, 2022.
- Don Wiener, Tea Party Backers Pour Millions into Key 2022 Senate Races, ExposedbyCMD, January 28, 2022.
- Alex Kotch, Conservative Plutocrats Pour Enormous Sums of Money into GOP Super PACs, ExposedbyCMD, August 17, 2020.
- Natasha Korecki, "‘I know he’s frustrated’: GOP megadonor on staggering losing streak", Politico, August 17, 2018.
- Maxwell Abbott, “Unprecedented” Outside Spending Floods into Wisconsin to Attack U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, "ExposedbyCMD", May 14, 2018.
- Soo Rin Kim, "Meet the top megadonors spending millions this election cycle", ABC News, April 20, 2018.
- Mark Sommerhauser, "Unprecedented' outside spending hits Tammy Baldwin, boosts Kevin Nicholson in US Senate race", Wisconsin State Journal, April 10, 2018.
- David Armiak, Uihlein Goes to Bat for Ron Johnson in Wisconsin Senate Race, "PRWatch", August 25, 2015.
- Jessica Mason, Kochs' Americans for Prosperity, Club for Growth, Shell out to Rescue Ron Johnson, "ExposedbyCMD", August 25, 2015.
- Mary Bottari, The Kochs Make News as Voters in Primaries Threaten to Turn Races Upside Down, "PRWatch", April 5, 2016.
- Restoration Action, Blueprint for the Restoration of America, accessed August 24, 2018.
- Tom Kretscher, Early attack ad says Tammy Baldwin backed letting citizens 'withhold funding' from troops, "PolitiFact", April 5, 2017.
- Scott Bauer, Big question for Wisconsin Senate race focuses on megadonor, "Washington Post", August 16, 2018.
- Lon Anderson Moorefield, Out-of-state money floods US Senate primary in W.Va. as special interests seek to buy election, "Fayette Tribune", July 26, 2018.
- Paul Crookston, New Ad Targets West Virginia Senate Seat: Manchin ‘Fakes’ State’s Values, "Washington Free Beacon", March 15, 2018.
- Tom Kretscher, Barack Obama met with Iran president, says PAC backing Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson for re-election, "PolitiFact", July 24, 2015.
- End Citizens United, Restoration PAC, accessed August 25, 2018.
- PR Newswire, [https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/restoration-pac-releases-tv-ad-catastrophic-in-us-senate-race-in-wisconsin-300116643.html Restoration PAC releases TV ad 'Catastrophic' in U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin ], July 22, 2015.
- Alan Gathright , Group says Sen. Bennet chose Washington 'insiders over our generals' in war on ISIS, "PolitiFact", October 27, 2016.
- OpenSecrets, Uihlein, Richard: Donor Detail, accessed August 28, 2016.
- Bill Glauber, Democrats charge GOP mega donor Richard Uihlein trying to 'buy' Senate seat for Kevin Nicholson, "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel", October 19, 2017.
- Mark Shtrakhman, Restoration PAC, May 7, 2018.
- OpenSecrets, Contributors, 2016 cycle, accessed August 26, 2018.
- OpenSecrets, Independent Expenditures, Communication Costs and Coordinated Expenses as of December 07, 2017, accessed August 26, 2018.
- OpenSecrets, Contributors, 2016 cycle, accessed August 27, 2018.
- OpenSecrets, Contributors, 2018 cycle, accessed August 27, 2018.
- Federal Elections Commission, RESTORATION PAC: Financial Summary, Accessed August 27, 2018.