Saturday, November 04, 2006

Billionaire Ricketts Family BUYS the Nebraska Republican Party

by Kyle Michaelis
This has to be one of the stranger footnotes of the 2006 Senate campaign, demonstrating the full extent of just how much money has been funnelled from the multi-billion dollar fortune of Sen. challenger Pete Ricketts' family to underwrite the entire Nebraska Republican Party.
FEC Report: STENBERG FOR SENATE 2006 COMMITTEE
RICKETTS, J JOE 06/30/2006 $2100.00
RICKETTS, J PETER 06/09/2006 $2100.00
RICKETTS, MARLENE 06/30/2006 $2100.00

Charity is, of course, a virtue. But, this is just plain ridiculous. At the same time Pete Ricketts was purchasing his first attack ads against Ben Nelson, he was already paying off the campaign debt of the man he'd just beat in the primary - Don Stenberg - making the maximum contribution permissible under the law and getting some of his family to do the same. Pete then followed a similar course in Nebraska's Third Congressional District, handing out checks for $2100 like they were candy for Trick-or-Treaters to all three of the candidates who'd been running for the Republican nomination, though only the unqualified Adrian Smith was advancing to the general election.

But, that's nothing. For a display of the truly obscene wealth of the Ricketts family and just how willing they've been to purchase power and influence, you have to look at how much money they've given directly to the Nebraska Republican Party.
FEC Report: NEBRASKA REPUBLICAN PARTY
RICKETTS, JOHN JOE 07/07/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, JAMES A 09/17/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, CECELIA 09/08/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, KATHLEEN 09/17/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, LINDA 07/18/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, MARLENE 07/07/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, RICHARD 07/18/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, THOMAS 09/08/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, TODD 10/10/2006 $10,000.00
RICKETTS, J. PETER 07/06/2005 $2,500.00
RICKETTS, J. PETER 05/18/2005 $1,500.00

I can't say for certain, but I think the Ricketts family might now own the Nebraska Republican Party. In fact, the (R) next to Republican names on the ballot might just as well stand for (R)icketts for all the money the family flooded their campaigns with this election year.

Keep in mind that every penny you see above is in addition to the unfathomable, whopping, record-shattering $12 million Pete Ricketts put into his own Senate campaign - with every name above (and plenty of others in the clan) maxing out their personal contributions there as well ($2,100 in primary + $2,100 in general).

And, thousands upon thousands of dollars from the Ricketts family has also been distributed to the individual campaigns of Republican candidates across the state. In short, it's been an ungodly free-for-all.

Where the hell has the media been in reporting this take-over? To my knowledge, there's never been anything like it in Nebraska politics. In fact, since the days of the old-time political machines, I wonder if one family has exerted this kind of domination over a statewide political party anywhere in the country.

What's saddest about the situation is that all these millions of dollars stand poised to accomplish so little. All the money poured into Pete's campaign simply fueled one of the most negative and probably most annoying Senate races in the country. And, even worse, it's becoming clear - even outside the half-a-million dollars being spent to destroy Scott Kleeb - that the Ricketts family's endless cash flow has had a similarly corrupting influence on the entire Nebraska Republican Party, which is using its newfound riches to pollute the nonpartisan legislative races with the same type of negative attacks.

The Omaha World-Herald reports:
A political flier mailed in Omaha accused Democratic legislative candidate Steve Lathrop, an attorney, of having "worked hard to put criminals back on the street."

The mailing, which featured a sinister-looking man in dark silhouette, criticized Lathrop for representing two men who had assaulted an 81-year-old woman.

What the hard-hitting piece didn't say is that a judge appointed Lathrop to represent the men 20 years ago.

"I was appalled," Lathrop said, calling the mailing an "attack on my character."

The Nebraska Republican Party paid for the advertisement. The party has sent out a flurry of pieces critical of Democratic candidates in four legislative races in Omaha, Lincoln and southeast Nebraska....

The four Democratic targets of mailings criticized the Republican Party for getting directly involved in races for what are officially nonpartisan offices.

"My feeling is it's a dangerous road to go down. When the parties get this involved in legislative races and the Unicameral becomes a partisan place, we may have difficulty maintaining a one-house system," said Lathrop....

Tiffiny Carlton, executive director of the Nebraska GOP, defended the mailings and the party's active involvement in the races.

She said the Nebraska Democratic Party also gets involved in legislative races, although she did not have an example of Democrats sending out negative fliers in legislative races this year.

As for the Lathrop flier, Carlton said, it did not matter that Lathrop was appointed by a judge to represent the men.

"There's lots of attorneys that don't get appointed to criminal cases. You have to do something to put yourself in position to get appointed," she said.

Barry Rubin, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party, said the mailings were a sign that Democrats recruited strong candidates this year and that the GOP fears losing some seats in the Legislature.

"Their candidates are weak, so they have to resort to nasty, misleading attacks to make up for a deficiency of ideas," Rubin said.

Besides the fact that Carlton's justification of the Lathrop flyer is one of the most ignorant statements I've ever read about the American justice system ("You have to do something to put yourself in position to get appointed"), what we really see in this article is the Ricketts effect on the Nebraska GOP.

They've always been willing to run cheap and misleading attacks, but this year Nebraska Republicans have had the means to do so more irresponsibly than ever before. The Ricketts family has empowered them - indulging their worst and most ugly instincts, hopefully to the point that the already alienated public rejects this whole cursed marriage of Ricketts' fortune to the Republicans' fate.

Ricketts, Smith, and all the legislative candidates seeking to reap reward from this pathetic strategy have earned the scorn and the rejection of Nebraska's voters. On Election Day, such would be a fitting end to what will certainly be remembered as an evil era.

8 Comments:

Anonymous eric said...

I keep getting mail from the NE GOP telling me not to vote for Amanda McGill in the district 26 legislature race because Amanda is too young.

As someone even younger than Amanda who feels that he could do a lot better job than most of the dinosaurs in the unicameral, I found the mailing pretty insulting.

I was actually undecided before that, but now my mind is made up. I don't believe in rewarding such attacks.

11/04/2006  
Blogger Daily Bulldog said...

And Nelson's nastiness has earned the "scorn" of Nebraska voters, too.

My, Kylie...you're now even speaking like a woman.

11/04/2006  
Anonymous nepolwatcher said...

Bulldog you are a true jackass

Ben's been outspent 2-1 by Slimeball Ricketts. Pete's called Ben every name in the book - accused him of breaking laws even - with no proof?
What has been done" pointed out Pete supports the NST, privatizing Social Security and taken HUGE bonuses while his company lost money and cut costs by cutting jobs.

there's a difference there and most Nebraskans know it - hence the poll numbers.

Now, drumroll please...time for Bulldog to call me names, Yay!!!

11/04/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bulldog, you are so full of bull****. Nelson's earned the scorn of Nebraska voters? By attacking Ricketts for advocating a national sales tax? He did. By attacking Ricketts for supporting amnesty? He did. By attacking Ricketts for advocating eliminating farm payments? He did. And for taking huge bonuses while firing people? He did that, too.

The "he did it too" line doesn't wash when one side's criticism is based on what actually happened and the other is made up out of whole cloth.

11/04/2006  
Anonymous Van said...

Couldn't Pete have purchased a voting machines company for a hell of a lot cheaper?

11/04/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Van - he didn't need to. His chief (and semingly only) supporter Chuck "ES&S" Hagel already owns the voting machines in Nebraska. And his main business partner is the Omaha "Lets Ruin Ben Nelson's" World Herald.

Keep an eye out on election day. If Nelson doesn't wn huge its probably the "hand of Hagel" at work. There are websites dedicated to Hagel's conflict of interest in owning the machines that count his and his opponents' votes.

11/04/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After November 7th, what will you all do?

11/05/2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

speaking like a woman?
fuck off, jackass.
-a woman.

11/05/2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home