Diane Hendricks is the chair and co-founder of Hendricks Holding Co. and ABC Supply, the largest roofing supply firm in the country, based in Beloit, Wisconsin. She is the wealthiest woman in Wisconsin, but consistently fails to pay state income taxes according to news reports. She is the largest donor to Governor Scott Walker, as well as a donor to the Koch Network and the Republican Party. As of June 2016, Forbes listed Hendricks number one on the list of "America's Richest Self-Made Women" at an estimated net worth of $4.8 billion. Diane Hendricks also serves on the board of directors for the Bradley Foundation. She was acknowledged at the Koch seminar in June 2011 in Vail, Colorado for donating at least $1 million to Koch-related causes. 
- 1 Hendricks Named Vice-Chair of Trump Victory Committee
- 2 Hendricks Paid No State Income Taxes in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014
- 3 Political Contributions
- 3.1 Hendricks Steps Up for Senator Ron Johnson
- 3.2 Hendricks Spent Millions Backing Koch Brothers' Freedom Partners Action Fund
- 3.3 Backing Scott Walker in Presidential Primaries 2016
- 3.4 Backing Scott Walker During Recall Period
- 3.5 Hendricks Pushed Right to Work, Walker "Divide and Conquer" Comments Caught on Tape
- 3.6 Backing Republican Party of Wisconsin
- 4 References
The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.
Hendricks Named Vice-Chair of Trump Victory Committee
In May of 2016, Diane Hendricks was selected to chair the Trump Victory Committee by Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus. Hendricks served as one of Trump Victory's several vice-chairs, joining other major Republican fundraisers like Mel Sembler, Liz Uihlein and Woody Johnson, who helped with the financing of Jeb Bush's 2016 presidential bid and Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign. The joint committee was formed to raise money for Donald Trump's presidential campaign, the Republican National Committee, and GOP committees in 11 different states.
Hendricks Paid No State Income Taxes in 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014
Like Donald Trump, Hendricks has received negative publicity for failing to pay her taxes. In four of five years from 2010 through 2014 Hendricks did not pay any Wisconsin state income taxes, according to a June 2016 article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The billionaire businesswomen owed nothing in taxes for three consecutive years from 2012 through 2014 after she paid a $290,415 state tax bill in 2011. The tax director for ABC supply said that Hendricks paid $7.6 million in state taxes for 2015, but due to an extension on her 2015 return, this figure had yet to be verified. Joel Joyce, a partner at the oldest CPA firm in Wisconsin, commented on the news of Hendricks' returns, saying "it's unusual to go zero, zero, zero and then owe $7.6 million."
The Center for Responsive Politics lists Hendricks as the 23rd largest donor to outside spending groups in the 2016 cycle as of September 26, 2016.
Hendricks Steps Up for Senator Ron Johnson
Two groups, Reform America Fund and Reform Wisconsin Fund began spending in Wisconsin in late September, 2016 criticizing Democrats Russ Feingold and Hillary Clinton.
Reform America Fund is funded primarily through Diane Hendricks' fortune, she contributed over $5 million to the super PAC between September and October 2016. The Super PAC dropped a seven-figure ad buy criticizing Feingold for voting in favor of the 2009 federal stimulus bill on October 17, 2016. A second ad, released October 25 shows children counting down from ten in various languages before a bomb explodes revealing text that reads, "A nuclear Iran is a threat the world. Russ Feingold supports the Iran nuclear deal." The group, which has also spent on advertising criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, also received contributions from Richard Uihlein, David Humphreys, Mary Kohler and Jere Fabick.
Reform Wisconsin Fund released a six-figure ad buy on September 28, 2016 attacking Feingold for "vot[ing] to allow partial birth abortions," and for spending 30 years as a "radical politician." The organization also launched the website russiswrong.com.
The organization was registered in September, 2016 as a separate group from Reform America Fund, however both groups have the same Treasurer, Lorri Pickens and the same spokesperson, Chris Martin. Per FEC filings Reform America Fund is managed by Walker's campaign guru R.J. Johnson and both entities are also registered to the same address in Black Creek, Wisconsin.
Hendricks Spent Millions Backing Koch Brothers' Freedom Partners Action Fund
Freedom Partners is heavily invested in key U.S. Senate races, propping up Republican Senate candidates in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin. As of September 26, 2016 the super PAC has spent $27,748,098 in the 2016 election cycle.
See a full list of the Freedom Partners 2016 advertising here.
Hendricks contributed $1 million to the Koch group during the 2014 election cycle.
Backing Scott Walker in Presidential Primaries 2016
In June of 2015, Diane Hendricks donated $5 million to Unintimidated PAC, a super PAC aligned with Scott Walker's 2016 presidential bid. With her multi-million dollar contribution, Hendricks joined a handful of other seven-figure supporters that helped the PAC reach $20 million by June 30, 2016. Unintimidated PAC spent $1.8 million of the $20 million raised before Walker left the race in September 2015, Diane Hendricks was reimbursed $4 million.
Backing Scott Walker During Recall Period
Hendricks is the largest known political donor to a state candidate in Wisconsin history, contributing a total of $529,100 to Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaigns, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Her largest disbursement of funds to Walker came in the 2012 recall election when she gave $500,000 to Walker's campaign.
Hendricks Pushed Right to Work, Walker "Divide and Conquer" Comments Caught on Tape
In a video shot on Jan. 18, 2011, days after Walker was sworn in as governor and shortly before he introduced his Act 10 bill ending collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, Walker spoke privately about his plan to "divide and conquer" Wisconsin workers in a videotaped conversation with Diane Hendricks.
“Any chance we'll ever get to be a completely red state and work on these unions....And become a right-to-work [state]?,” Hendricks asks in the video. Walker replies: “Well, we're going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we're going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer... That opens the door once we do that.”
The tape was released by videographer Brad Lichtenstein in May 2012 and received extensive press attention. Although Walker for years insisted that private sector "right to work" would not get to his desk, he eventually signed the ALEC-inspired bill into law in 2015 and Wisconsin became the 25th right to work state.
Backing Republican Party of Wisconsin
Over the period of January 1 to October 20, 2014, Hendricks gave a total of $1 million to the Republican Party of Wisconsin, outspending the next largest donor by a magnitude of five. The surge of spending by the billionaire came ahead of the expectation that GOP lawmakers would push a right-to-work bill in the following congressional session.
- Cary Spivak, Beloit billionaire posts string of zeroes on state returns, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 9, 2016.
- Forbes, America's Richest Self-Made Women, Forbes, June 16, 2016.
- Gavin Aronsen, Exclusive: The Koch Brothers' Million-Dollar Donor Club, Mother Jones, September 6, 2011.
- David Sherfinski and Seth McLaughlin, Donald Trump, RNC roll out team for joint fundraising effort, The Washington Times, May 24, 2016.
- Center for Responsive Politics, 2016 Top Donors to Outside Spending Groups, opensecrets, accessed September 26, 2016.
- Mark Sommerhauser, Super PACs drop millions to target Russ Feingold, Wisconsin State Journal, October 18, 2016.
- Federal Election Commission, Reform America Fund, October Monthly Filing, FEC filing, October 20, 2016.
- Federal Election Commission, Reform America Fund, Pre General Filing, FEC filing, October 27, 2016.
- Reform Wisconsin Fund, Reform Wisconsin Fund: Launches ad against Russ Feingold for supporting partial-birth abortion, press release, September 28, 2016.
- Mark Sommerhauser, National Democrats nix some Wisconsin U.S. Senate ads, super PAC hits Russ Feingold on abortion, Wisconsin State Journal, September 29, 2016.
- Center for Responsive Politics, Diane Hendricks: Donor Detail, opensecrets, accessed September 26, 2016.
- Center for Responsive Politics, Freedom Partners Action Fund: 2016 Cycle, opensecrets, accessed September 26, 2016.
- Center for Responsive Politics, Hendricks, Diane Ms: Donor Detail 2014, opensecrets, accessed September 26, 2016.
- Will Tucker, Walker's exit leaves some major donors up for grabs, Center for Responsive Politics, September 21, 2015.
- In film, Walker talks of 'divide and conquer' union strategy, JS Online, May 10, 2012.
- Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Hendrick's Contributions to Walker, organizational database, Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Jason Stein and Patrick Marley, In film, Walker talks of 'divide and conquer' union strategy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 10, 2012.
- Mike Ivey, Right-to-work booster Diane Hendricks gave $1 million to Wisconsin Republicans in 2014, The Cap Times, January 7, 2015.