The MyPillow Guy Has Been Quietly Bankrolling the Election-Denier Movement

Photo: Hyoung Chang/Denver Post via Getty Images

Fox News viewers have been aware for years now that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is willing to spend a small fortune on ad buys broadcasting his kinda lumpy product to conservative viewers. The advertising — close to $80 million on Fox News prime time alone since January 2021 — has helped boost annual revenues to as much as $300 million, if you’re willing to take his private company at its word.

So what’s the MyPillow guy doing with all this money? According to an analysis from the New York Times, he’s dumping a great deal of it into the election-denying movement he has championed since the Capitol riot.

The Ouroboros-shaped operation is pretty ingenious. Lindell gets in hot water with the government for his shoddy attempts to prove election fraud in 2020 — as in September when federal agents seized his phone in a Hardee’s parking lot as part of an investigation into voting-machine tampering. (He wasn’t charged with a crime.) Then he goes in front of Trump supporters to sell his stuff. “Use promo code FBI to save up to 66 percent,” he told a rally three days after his run-in with the feds. As conservative media assembled around his cause, Lindell claimed profits soared close to 50 percent in the following days. Then he used that money to fund activist networks and legal efforts pushing the conspiracy that voting machines had been compromised in 2020. In total, Lindell told the Times, he has spent as much as $40 million on conservative causes trying to prove the lie that election fraud denied Donald Trump a second term.

The most effective tool has been promo codes for far-right podcasters and advocates to sell to their audiences, giving them a cut of the profits. MyPillow-advertised podcasts include popular shows hosted by Glenn Beck, Dan Bongino, Jack Posobiec, and Rudy Giuliani. Last year, close to one-third of the ad time on Steve Bannon’s podcast featured MyPillow, according to one analysis. Bannon — who last week was sentenced to a short prison term for contempt of Congress in defying a subpoena related to the insurrection — has broadcast on two occasions from Lindell’s conferences for election-fraud activists, and over time Bannon has grown sympathetic to Lindell’s claim that voting machines were hacked. “I do know the machines have to go,” Bannon said during an interview with Lindell in August. Lindell has been sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems, the main voting-machine company he is rallying against, for $1.3 billion in damages.

While MyPillow has been propping up the election-denying movement and its associated media, it hasn’t abandoned its preferred cable channel. According to the ad-measurement firm iSpot, Lindell has spent more than any other advertiser on Fox News prime time, making up nearly 8 percent of all ads shown in that slot.

“Every dollar you spend at MyPillow helps fund Mike Lindell’s efforts for this nation,” the host of an election-denying podcast doing MyPillow promos said in September. “He’s done that as they’ve tried to destroy his company.”

MyPillow Guy Quietly Bankrolls the Election-Denier Movement