Disappointing news broke this week of the exorbitant and irresponsible spending by the Republican National Committee. Never mind the millions of dollars spent on luxury travel and limousines, under the current leadership, the RNC has also managed to go through nearly a million dollars on floral arrangements and ‘décor’! While we could go line item by line item (you can here), we simply came to the question of “Who signed off on all this?” It’s no wonder Chairman McDaniel’s tenure has largely come into question as of late. But who else was overseeing this gross misappropriation of funds? That led us straight to former RNC Finance Chair of 4 years, Todd Ricketts.
Does the name sound familiar to you? It should. Todd is the baby brother to none other than Nebraska Governor, Pete Ricketts! Sneaky Pete can often be heard proudly exclaiming how he loves running Nebraska “like a business.” Now, why does all this matter? As such esteemed businessmen, one would think sound money management would come as second nature; Yet, as finance chair of the RNC, Todd Ricketts was signing off on $7,000 for cupcakes — cupcakes! As John Rich eloquently stated on Tucker Carlson, "These people are scoundrels. They’re liars. They are abusing their position with the conservatives around this country. The RNC has used and abused donations from conservatives."
There’s an important comparison to be made between the brothers. Sadly, much like the RNC was callously spending donor’s money on superfluous items, we know that the NEGOP in Nebraska was doing just the same under Peter’s handpicked party leadership, or lack thereof. It is not beyond reasonable doubt that the NEGOP was being run as a shell company for consultants and other businesses to launder money, more or less. Audits conducted on the state party’s finances were pathetic and showed what would make a fraternity house's financial review look like a Fortune 500 company. What’s incredibly interesting about the books under previous state party leadership was no real delineation of funds. Checks that would come in through the mail as a donation could have been used to pay off some expenses or a consultant in Kansas City, just to name an example. There was no balancing act, and the convoluting of money was extensive. Donors to the Nebraska Republican Party had no real indication as to where their money was going. There was never even a treasurer's report.
Is this acceptable behavior for anyone in charge of this much money? Or of any dollar amount for that matter? Are the Ricketts brothers that poor at managing money? Or do they really see no problem with recklessly spending other people’s money, as long as it suits them and those they prop up? It is often said, “When you have no skin in the game you have nothing to lose.” As both were innately born with a silver spoon, maybe that’s why they don’t see this as an issue. Any honest person however understands that erroneously spending the hard-earned dollars that others have donated is completely disrespectful, to say the least. Pete and Todd’s father, Joe Ricketts, grew a Fortune 500 business and was a savvy businessman with financial control. Todd and Pete clearly have not followed their dad’s lead. The RNC and NEGOP failed to achieve critical objectives by securing majorities in the US Senate and Nebraska Unicameral, all while wasting millions of dollars. Hopefully, by exposing their deliberate dereliction of finances, Nebraskans and Americans can see that not only is Pete Ricketts unfit to hold public office or represent others, but neither should his family members be holding such influence over Republican politics solely because of their father’s wealth. The American people deserve better leadership.