Nebraska Politics

Pete Ricketts’s Campaign Funding is Sad and Obscene

You should check out donations to Pete Ricketts’s campaign(s) for governor of Nebraska. Don’t bother with his run for U.S. Senate–on which he spent $12 million of his own money. Just look at who has been giving money to Pete Ricketts so that he can maintain control over the little fiefdom we call Nebraska.

First–a quick FYI. Did you know that most states strictly limit how much an individual can donate to a state race? In California, for example, the limit an individual can give to a gubernatorial candidate is $29,200. That’s in a state whose population is pushing 40 million human souls. In many other states it’s way lower. Florida? $3,000 for governor.

But in Nebraska, as in a handful of other states, the amounts are unlimited. So if you are a billionaire with a son who needs to fail upward somewhere, Nebraska is a low population state where you can really get some bang for your buck—there’s a relatively small pool of resident donors to fund your opponent, so you can splurge a little and buy your kid something nice. A governor’s mansion he can visit occasionally. A legislature. A death penalty to keep his, um, “energies” focused, like that dad on Dexter did for his son.

I bet the Ricketts family had no idea how much it was going to cost to get that kid into the governor’s mansion. Who would have predicted that making Pete palatable to a mere 1.8 million people would end up costing you OVER 30 TIMES the individual contribution limit in CALIFORNIA, which has TWENTY TIMES more people than Nebraska? Man, mediocre kids are expensive.

Here is how much the Ricketts family, including Pete’s wife and parents-in-law, as well as their two family businesses, have had to hemorrhage into the Pete Ricketts for Governor account to keep him afloat.

Joe and Marlene $1,123,988
Pete himself $72,142
Tom $77,187
Cecilia $25,000
Laura $5,000
Todd $33,531
James $10,000
Donavon $8,500
Jim $5,000
Judith $500
Susanne Shore $50,000
Carl Shore $1,500
Martha Shore $1,990
Ameritrade $25,000
Chicago Cubs $41,586
TOTAL $1,480,924


About one and a half million dollars. That doesn’t count the hundreds of thousands the family has put into his death penalty initiative, or the money they put into the Nebraska Republican Party, some of which flows back into the Ricketts campaign, or the other special interests and connected issues they fund here and there. And it doesn’t even touch on the other obscene quantities of money flowing from America’s investor class into the Ricketts campaign, like this guy, who has given him $250,000. This is just money from one family who wants to own the state.