Four Years Ago Scott Walker Promised This Woman He’d Bust Wisconsin’s Unions

Now Diane Hendricks has dropped $5 million to get him elected president.

Matt Rourke/AP

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The super-PAC backing Scott Walker has many wealthy backers, but its single biggest contributor is Diane Hendricks, who ponied up $5 million. A billionaire through the roofing supply business she and her late husband founded, Hendricks has been one of Walker’s top benefactors since he first ran for governor. In 2012, Hendricks was the biggest donor to Walker’s campaign to stave off a union-led recall effort, and now she’s stepped up for him again. Out of the $20 million raised by the pro-Walker group Unintimidated PAC, 25 percent came from Hendricks.

If there was any question that Walker and Hendricks are on the same page, here’s a video of the two chatting in 2011 shortly after he took office.

“Good to see you!” Walker says, dashing through the door and hugging Hendricks and kissing her on the cheek.

Hendricks asks Walker about the possibility of turning Wisconsin into a “completely red state.”

“Oh, yeah,” Walker responds, going on to lay out his “divide and conquer” strategy for attacking public sector unions.

Despite her massive contribution, Hendricks still has some close competition as the group’s biggest funder. Marlene Ricketts, the wife of TD Ameritrade founder and Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts, gave $4.9 million. And Joe Ricketts himself tossed in another $100,000.

Richard Uihlein and his wife Elizabeth, the founder and president of Illinois box company Uline, respectively, gave $2.5 million to the super-PAC as well.

Rounding out the list of seven-figure donors was Access Industries, a New York City holding company run by Len Blavatnik. Blavatnik is a Ukranian-born businessman who in April was named the “richest man in Britain” with an estimated net worth of $20.1 billion. Blavatnik, who is a US citizen, is also known for his lavish donations to universities including Oxford and Tel Aviv University. On Thursday, the super-PAC supporting Lindsey Graham reported receiving $500,000 from Blavatnik’s company.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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