ILLINOIS — Supporters of changing the state’s flat income tax to one with higher rates on higher earners used a fake Twitter account to promote the progressive tax.
The Vote Yes For Fairness group, which is heavily funded by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, shared a screenshot on Facebook Oct. 9 of a tweet from @Liz_Uihlein. The Uihlein family owns Uline, one of the largest companies in Illinois. Vote Yes For Fairness also paid between $10,000 and $15,000 to promote the fake tweet on Facebook, with a potential reach of more than 1 million people, according to publicly available information from the social media giant.
“Why should I be expected to subsidize my employees’ taxes?” the tweet said. “They don’t need a handout from me, they already get a paycheck. Vote NO on the tax hike amendment. #FairTax #FairTax Now”
The fake Twitter account has since been removed.
“On behalf of Uline, … the alleged Liz Uihlein Twitter account was a fake account, and that Liz Uihlein has never had a Twitter account,” said Ellie O’Neil, a publicist with Mueller Communications LLC. “After being reported to Twitter, the fake account has been removed by Twitter for impersonation.”
The image of the tweet shared by Yes For Fairness showed it was captured 48 seconds after the Tweet was sent.
Vote Yes For Fairness said the tweet “is how opponents of the Fair Tax think of hardworking Illinoisans.”
“Billionaires like Liz Uihlein don’t care about our middle and lower-income families – they only care about protecting their bottom line,” the Vote Yes For Fairness group posted about the fake tweet. “That’s why they’re fighting to stop the Fair Tax, which would make them finally pay their fair share, while giving a tax cut to 97% of Illinoisans.”
Illinois voters will decide next month whether to change the state constitution, which currently requires a flat income tax, to allow for a progressive structure.
Facebook data show the Vote Yes For Fairness post was an active advertisement, but is now inactive.
The total the group spent on all Facebook ads between May 7, 2018, and Oct. 10, 2020, was $2.4 million, according to Facebook. In the past seven days, the group spent $385,900.
Vote Yes For Fairness didn’t immediately respond to questions about the fake tweet or its paid Facebook promotion.
Illinois State Board of Elections data show Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave Vote Yes For Fairness $56.5 million this year.
Illinois voters sound off on the amendment in the Nov. 3 General Election.
The Center Square – Greg Bishop