The Billionaire's Inbox: The Ricketts On Capitalism and Electoral Politics 

The Billionaire's Inbox
The Billionaire's Inbox: The Ricketts On Capitalism and Electoral Politics 

Welcome back to The Billionaire’s Inbox, where we hear from the other half, in its own words. Today we’re looking at the Ricketts family’s political attitudes and influences. You can read the previous installments of the series, and some of Joe Ricketts’ thoughts on unions, here:

Family patriarch Joe Ricketts, who has described himself at various times as a libertarian and a conservative, launched Ending Spending, his first Super PAC, in 2010 to challenge both Republican and Democratic incumbents. Joe’s 49-year-old son Todd Ricketts was at one time the PAC’s CEO and now serves as the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee. Another son, current Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, has been tangentially involved when not otherwise distracted by his own state-level aspirations.

During the 2012 elections, Ending Spending was the subject of scandal when a 54-page proposal titled, “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: the Ricketts Plan to End His spending for Good,” leaked to the New York Times: The plan, which sought to link Obama to comments made by his former spiritual advisor, Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, was considered at the time “one of the most provocative campaigns of the ‘super PAC’ era,” and referred to Obama as a “black metrosexual Abe Lincoln.” (The Ricketts family subsequently distanced themselves from the plan.)

In 2016, Joe Ricketts and his wife Marlene donated millions of dollars to Our Principles PAC, a group intending to “prevent Donald Trump from hijacking our great [Republican] party.” When Trump secured the Republican ticket, Ricketts made a “stunning” about-face, publicly endorsing the candidate and pledging at least $1 million to the future president’s efforts.

After the election, Ricketts’ son Todd was offered the position of deputy commerce secretary in Trump’s administration, but was unable to disentangle his business interests to the satisfaction of the Office of Government Ethics. He was subsequently named the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman in January of 2018.

Pete Ricketts, a former Ameritrade executive, has been angling for office since 2006, when he spent $14 million of his own money in an attempt to unseat an incumbent senator in Nebraska. Though he outspent his opponent 10 to one, he received just 36 percent of the vote. In 2014, he won by a narrow margin in a Republican primary for the Nebraska governorship and went on to win the general election. A year later, when the devout Catholic found his own state legislature at odds with his pro-death penalty stance, he vowed to put as many inmates to death as possible before a new law went into effect. He and his father also collectively donated $300,000 of personal funds to pro-death penalty lobbying groups during that time. Peter Ricketts was re-elected as governor this year.

In emails, the more politically inclined Ricketts men extoll the virtues of capitalism; worry over the impending high-tax, pro-welfare society Obama will usher in; leverage the family name and assets to gain access to the political class; and strategize how best to take advantage of what was, at the time, a relatively new opportunity for donors to expand (and conceal) their influence within the American political system.

“Through the years, I’ve actively and openly participated in our political process,” Ricketts wrote in a statement to Splinter. “As a registered independent, I’ve proudly supported candidates across the political spectrum who believe in smaller, more efficient government.”

Though the mega-donor’s public stances emphasize non-partisan fiscal responsibility, emails sent during his initial forays into national politics suggest a more personal and hard-line politics.

“For the first time in my life,” he writes in 2009, a year before he launched his first Super PAC, “I am afraid of my government.”

On Obama, Socialism, and Free Enterprise

From: [Joe Ricketts right-hand man and general counsel] Alfred Levitt
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: January 9, 2013
Subject: FW: Lunch?
An amusing note from Joie Chen. It looks like Obama is serving bison at the Inauguration Lunch. Apparently socialists and capitalists alike enjoy bison!

From: Joe Ricketts
To: [friend] D.P.
Date: March 17, 2010
I do believe that he [Obama] is an idealogue that wants to change this country into something it has never been, more like Europe. His Programs will destroy our system of Free Enterprise so he and his proposals must be stopped. I’m spending a lot of money trying to stop him.
I think he is a liar and a cheat, absolutebly horrible. Thank God there are a lot of people like us.
I think we are winning.

From: Todd Ricketts
To: Joe Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Laura Ricketts, and others
Date: February 26, 2009
Subject: just for fun
Forwarded Message From: [Young America’s Foundation] President Ron Robinson
Subject: need a conservative ‘pick me up?’
Are you feeling depressed and angry over the Left’s big government solutions to Wall Street and Main Street?
You have a freedom philosophy. Take a break from the negative news and watch this video!
We think you’ll enjoy this fascinating exchange between Dr. Milton Friedman and liberal Phil Donahue.
It’s a “battle of ideas,” and Milton Friedman so clearly wins! Liberal Phil just doesn’t get free enterprise.
And more than 20 years later, while the campus Left and our leaders in Washington try to replace capitalism with a socialistic ideology, there’s one organization standing for freedom.
Young America’s Foundation has advanced your freedom philosophy to young people through distinguished lecturers including Dr. Walter Williams, Nobel Laureates Vernon Smith and James Buchanan, ABC’s John Stossel, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Secretary Jack Kemp, Speaker Newt Gingrich, and many more.
Ron Robinson
From: Joe Ricketts
To: Todd Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Laura Ricketts, and others
Date: February 26, 2009
Re: Just for Fun
This is incredibly important. In this short period of time Friedman described how we can reduce poverty in the world. Capitalism is the key, it unlocks free enterprise. It is the only system that creates something (wealth to buy food for example); whereas any other system so far discovered by man destroys something, creating less wealth and allowing more people to go hungry.

From: Todd Ricketts
To: Joe Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Laura Ricketts, and others
Date: July 4, 2009
Subject: new religion
One of the reasons I am so skeptical of global warming alarmism is for exactly what this article points out. Global warming is a religion and anyone who doesn’t believe is a heretic.
From: Joe Ricketts
To: Tom Ricketts, Laura Ricketts
Date: July 4, 2009
Subject: RE: new religion
I have two thoughts on this subject; first, climate change is part of the earths continuing evolution. Anyone that looks at the earth’s history can not deny that climate change has happened regularly in the past. I haven’t seen any evidence that this continuing change should suddenly stop now or that human activity is causing the current change.
Second, this Administration is the most corrupt and dangerous government we’ve ever had. It is the most dangerous because it simply isn’t coveting money, It covets power and will do anything, even the most corrupt acts, to gain that power. It covets power because of an ideology that is counter to our two hundred plus years as a culture of an open, honest and transparent society (even with all of the failures). The ideology can not prevail in the light of reason as demonstrated by Obama in his talk with Joe the Plumber.
For the first time in my life I am afraid of my government.
J. Joe Ricketts
From: L.B.
To: Joe Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, Laura Ricketts, and others
Date: July 4, 2009
Subject: RE: new religion
Amen Brother 🙂 AS I keep saying liberalism as currently defined is as much a religion as anything else and requires faith rather than reason although its appeal is to reason (in a weird twist). Environmentalism is a manifestation of this faith.
From: Joe Rickets
To: Todd Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Tom Ricketts, and others
Date: July 4, 2009
Subject: RE: New Religion
I hadn’t thought about this but it certainly is true. In the last century socialism has been found time and again to fail and bring poverty. All one has to do is remember the Berlin Wall and the two sides, one socialist and one capitalist. Reason and Intellect hold that Free Enterprise is what brings the greatest benefits to the greatest numbers of people. However, the idealism of Socialistic systems has such an emotional appeal that people can’t override these emotions. Yea, I can see that Liberalism is as much a religion as anything else because it does require faith and not reason.

From: Joe Ricketts
To: [cousin] L.S
Date: December 2, 2013
Subject: Re: oh joe
Hi [L.],
I’m pleased to know about your experience with National Health Insurance and I’m sure that there are good aspects to it. My friends in Canada report serious disappointments with their national health program. As you know, we’re having a big problem with health care here and I’m hoping that I never have to submit to it. There isn’t any question in my mind that Free Markets bring the best results at the least cost. However, the segments of the population that cannot afford health care need to be helped.
[ pleasantries about family matters redacted for privacy]
I disagree with you on Romney. My opinion on our current President is that he is the worst one we have ever had. Our country may be changing, moving from a country of a large number of individual contributors to a country with large number of takers, people that want the government to provide a great deal. If this is the case and we don’t get redirected it will be the end of the US as we have known it. There are probably a lot of people in the World that would like to see that. However, knowing that we disagree is enough – we will never change each others minds.
Sara Palin is a conservative and as such I like her. She is my kind of person when it comes to political philosophy but I’ve only met her once so do not know here personally. I take these issues very seriously and have started an activity in Washington called Ending spending. This is my own money and we have a Web site.

From: Todd Ricketts
To: Tom Ricketts, Joe Ricketts, L.B.
Date: February 3, 2010
Subject: canadian health care
So if we adopt a Canadian style healthcare, as much of the Obama plan would be, where would we go when we actually want to get good care?

On Hobnobbing with Politicians and the Press

From: Joe Ricketts
To: [Washington Post columnist and Cubs fan] George Will
Date: October 11, 2011
Subject: Sarah Palin bet
Hi George,
A long time ago we had a breakfast visit where we made a bet on Sarah Palin running for President. My side of the bet was that she would not and of course yours was the opposite. I believe that I’ve won the bet but can’t remember the bet amount. Perhaps sometime you can come to a Cubs game and buy me a beer.

From: Joe Ricketts
To: [friend] B.G. and others
Date: September 14, 2008
Subject: RE: interesting political scenario about a woman
Hey, I Love Palin. I’m going to meet her later this month.

From: Joe Ricketts
To: [friend] V.V and others
Date: May 22, 2012
Subject: FW: George Will Slams New York Times Over Joe Ricketts Story | RealClearPolitics
Thanks for sending. I know George Will and he obviously knows me so it was nice to see this defense of the truth.
I used to think that the NYTimes was left leaning but I now know that it is radically left/progressive. They published two items that they knew were not true, I’m not a Republican and I don’t own or manage the Cubs. After my success with Deb Fisher in the Republican Primary this issue provided a platform for character assassination and a warning to others not to become involved. However, it will not work as this will probably cause me to put more time, effort, energy and money into the campaign to defeat Obama. As this election year goes on you may hear more about me from my enemies. Thx, Joe

From: [Former vice president] Dan Quayle
To: [Republican strategist] Fred Davis
Date: June 10, 2012
Subject: Joe Ricketts
I have read the outrageous press reporting on Joe Ricketts. I have had similar smear campaigns against me while in office. I would like to speak with Joe and share some thoughts. I do have an ulterior motive in that I would like him to consider supporting my son in this primary. This would include a donation to his primary through both vehicles. If he will take my call i will do it. Thanks.
Dan Quayle

To: Joe Ricketts
From: [Ending Spending PAC president] Brian Baker
Date: March 11, 2011
Memo RE: Recap of Meetings in Washington
[This memo has been excerpted; you can read a full version at the bottom of this post.]
We met in the Capitol with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Republican Leader, and his new chief of staff, Josh Holmes (his prior chief, Billy Piper, who you met on prior trip, left to join a DC lobbying firm). This was, as usual, a good meeting.
We had lunch with Steve Moore, of the Wall Street Journal, and Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The topic of discussion was the union book you have sponsored. They gave you an update on where the book stands (they believe it will be done in the next 2 months, or less). Mix gave you an update on the financial situation and I believe he indicated he will send you (through Laura) an invoice or update on that. Mix and Moore discussed the fact that there is some question over the best way to pay Moore (meaning through which entity), given his role at WSJ and the tax rules for non-profits.
We had dinner with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of House Budget Committee, and his long-time chief of staff Joyce Meyer. I hope you enjoyed this dinner as much as I did. You had a long meeting and there was enough time for both of you to get to know each other personally as well as to discuss his ideas on how to fix the budget mess and other political issues generally. Paul said it best when he asked for your help in providing cover and encouraging the public and Members to support the legislation he intends to introduce on fixing the long-term, structural deficit facing the federal government.
We met with Matt Schlapp, former political director in the White House under President Bush and former vice president of federal affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector LLC. Matt is leading an effort to gather and essentially privatize “voter file” information of registered voters
Following dinner, we had a brief off-the-record session with two leading political reporters who have covered our anti-earmark efforts or been helpful to them: Mike Allen (the chief White House correspondent and founding editor of Politico’s Playbook) and Griff Jenkins, an on-air correspondent for Fox News and contributor to Greta Van Susteren’s show “On the Record.”
Following the meeting, Griff Jenkins contacted the rancher you inquired about. The rancher’s contact information is below. As we discussed, Griff requested that you not share with anyone that he provided you the information. Griff called Mr. Barnett to alert him that you or one of your representatives may contact him in the future. Further, Griff told me that the latest status of legal battle is that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in February that the rancher is liable for punitive damages to the illegal aliens, and that the rancher’s only recourse now is to try to get to Supreme Court.
[Ed Note: The rancher, who had detained immigrants at gunpoint, lost his case on appeal.]

On The Headaches that Come With Being A Mega-Donor

From: [Republican strategist and “Demon Sheep” mastermind] Fred Davis
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: January 27, 2012
Subject: How I enjoyed this day.
Not sure what I was expecting, but I truly loved hearing your thoughts, watching how your mind works, and I was quite flattered to be given so much time.
Hope I didn’t bore you to death with my stories!
Whether we get to work together or not, and I sure hope the answer is yes, this was a day I’ll long remember. Just remember, you must DEMAND that your work be far, far different from ANYTHING ever produced for politics. Only then will it shine and throw the bum out.
I’ve attached a shot of my nephew and his wife, who live right by your stadium. I told Pete and Todd about them, and they gave me lapel pins to send ‘em. They are in the mail to Chicago! Great kids.
Thanks again for making the trek, hope you felt it was worthwhile.

From: [Republican strategist] Fred Davis
To: Joe Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Todd Ricketts
Date: May 17, 2012
Subject: URGENT. Suggest not taking calls right now.
We just got a call that the NY Times has a HARD copy of our proposal on Reverend Wright.
Putting aside the terrible disappointment that this was leaked, we’re waiting for Brian to get off his TV appearance so we can work out a strategy on how to respond. The story is for tomorrow, and needless to say they think it’s a big deal.
The writers are Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg. They say they will soon be, “calling around,” and I wanted to get you this news immediately to be sure none of the three of you take their calls and get caught off guard.
As soon as we have Brian, we’ll be back in touch with a response plan.
Just when things yesterday were going so well…
From: Pete Ricketts
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: June 18, 2012
Subject: More stories….?
You might expect more stories as the Left digs into your past. At least you are not alone.
Frank VanderSloot, the CEO of a fast-growing Idaho company, was surprised to learn that his donation to a Mitt Romney-aligned super PAC made him one of eight disreputable, maligned Americans on the Obama campaign website.
Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel wrote about how the Obama campaign “trolled for dirt” in Frank’s past, demonstrating the left’s hardening tactics of intimating and silencing their political opponents rather than engaging and refuting them, as we used to see.
Watch his interview

From: Joe Ricketts
To: Andrew Breitart
Date: November 9, 2009
Subject: RE: Andrew Breitbart
Congratulations on the work against ACORN. Please thank Mallory for me and so will I.
I’m pleased that you contacted me and I’ll be contacting you in the very near future about the project I’m starting on Earmarks. We are going to need some PR advice – in the least.
Yes, We, our family, is really excited about owning the Cubs. This will be a fun adventure for us and hope the World Series Championship is possible as you suggest.
Best wishes, Joe

From: Joe Ricketts
To: Dinesh D’Souza
Date: December 8, 2011
Subject: Important Website
You will want to be familiar with this web site, it appears to be having an influence, “”. I think you will like it.
I forgot to tell you, at the last Koch conference I suggested to Charles Koch that he invite you and followed up with sending him your book on Obama.

From: [Ending Spending PAC President] Brian Baker
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: March 29, 2012
Subject: Marc Short / Koch
Joe –
I called [former president of Freedom Industries and one-time Trump director of legislative affairs] Marc Short and we had a nice conversation. He appreciated the call and said there was no need for an apology. Marc said that they were happy to have Dinesh at the Seminar, even though they were disappointed in his conduct. Marc also said they will decide whether to invest in the movie project based on its merits (and he noted that several other Seminar attendees have invested in the movie so far).

On Bringing Conservative Thought to ‘Motivated Students in U.S. ghettoes’

From: M.J.
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: February 7, 2013
Subject: Institute of Conservative Studies
Hi Joe,
Per our discussion, I have attached a document outlining a possible roadmap to setup the JR Institute of Conservative Studies. Ray will separately send you a modified plan. Please advise if you would like to discuss this by phone.
Kind regards,
From: Alfred Levitt
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: February 11, 2013
Subject: RE: Institute of Conservative Studies
Joe —
You’ve circulated several very interesting emails relating to your various digital education initiatives. One question I had on the email below is whether this line of thinking — allowing students to begin college course while in their final two years of high school — is something you wish to incorporate into OEF’s secondary education tablet program outside the United States, the program you’ve conceived of for bringing self-directed learning to motivated students in U.S. ghettoes, or possibly both?
To: Alfred Levitt
From: Joe Ricketts
Date: February 11, 2013
Subject: RE: Institute of Conservative Studies

On Influencing Electoral Politics

From: [Wisconsin Senator] Ron Johnson
To: Joe Ricketts, [conservative businessman and activist] Foster Friess
Date: March 17, 2013
Subject: Strategic Planning Process
Foster and Joe,
I enjoyed our lunch conversation at AEI’s World Forum. As promised, I have written and attached a summary description and outline of what I believe is required to develop strategies for the conservative movement overall, and for Congressional Republicans specifically.
I truly appreciate your involvement in the conservative cause, and would enjoy working with you to create sorely needed winning strategies.
Feel free to contact me anytime using this email address or my personal cell phone: [redacted]
From: Joe Ricketts
To: Ron Johnson, Foster Friess, Pete Ricketts, Todd Ricketts
Date: March 18, 2013
Subject: RE: Strategic Planning Process
Thank you Senator, We, that is my sons Todd, Peter and myself, have come to a similar conclusion. As you can see, I included them in this response. What do you propose as the exact next step. Best, Joe Ricketts

From: Foster Friess
To: Ron Johnson, Joe Ricketts, Pete Ricketts, Todd Ricketts
Date: March 19, 2013
Subject: Ron, what a great start you give us allŠ.here are my thoughts to add to yoursŠ
…Our first step should be to convene a group of donors. As you know the left did this years ago. Discipline among Dems comes from not subtle “encouragement” from unions.
We need a countervailing entity of influence on legislators which a consortium of high profile donors could achieve. Phil Anschutz and I brainstormed on this many months ago and I believe I could rekindle his interest as he signed off on the idea but we never ran with it. What are all your reactions to this possible STEP ONE?
Secondly as a corollary we figure out how to have a core group of contributors for EACH Senator/House Member that is “influenceable” to embrace a more unified approach to the issues. Rick Santorum told me all the letters, phone calls, and emails pale in comparison to having a dozen or so of his largest contributors face to face.
Next I would suggest we get one or two top leaders who share our perspective from House, Senate , Governors and Republican National Committee (RNC) to embrace your notion of creating an overarching strategy to implement the vision we help you develop——-mainly unifed solutions to the key issues—-healthcare, immigration, right to protect our families, fiscal sanity, energy development. This would entail what the ultimate UNIFIED policy would look like and then how to SELL it to not just the Congress but to the public.
Coincidentally as World Forum was winding up I met with John Boehner, Fred Malek and four other donors including Bob McCormack of Morgan Stanley fame and Bob Santelli owner of Cincinnati Red The there or four other guys were staffers of Congressional Leadership Network and American Action Network. The intention was to pitch us on ponying up funds for the two entities. I perhaps annoyed them by diverting to the topics you raised with Joe and me at lunch. But Santelli and McCormack affirmed your message I relayed.
Fred Malek agreed to convene the group mentioned above. This should delight us. The speech I gave at CPAC highlighted additional points I made (it runs 12 minutes including Al Cardenas intro and can be found by googling “Foster Friess CPAC”. Concepts I articulated at CPAC and at the Boehner meeting include:
We need to convene MARKETING skills from folks from successful businesses who have demonstrated marketing savvy so that we begin to emulate the left’s skill at communicating to voters to the heart/emotions as opposed to only the brain/intellect. As we increase our communication savvy we need the two pronged approach of confronting lies within the 24 hour news cycle in which they are uttered and bringing to the fore truth mainstream media will not seek and once found will hide. The CPAC speech gives examples so I will not repeat here.
Chris Christie accomplished some of his New Jersey improvements by selling the public in frequent town hall meetings; currently it seems the selling by Boehner or McConnell seems to be limited to within the beltway.
Enough for now;;;lets execute our discussions via email so we all don’t need to be simultaneously available, unless it is too sensitive . Emailing has become easier now that we can dictate rather than type due to Siri on iPhones or iPads. I have added my son Steve and my two politically savvy aides, Matthew Taylor who ran campaigns before joining me and Trent Christensen who led the team that raised $90 million for Romney in the 29 “less lucrative” states, including $4.5 million here in Jackson Wyoming. Thanks Ron for taking leadership on what is the missing ingredient to our success. Winning the Ricketts’ family support that you achieved creates the joining of the stacked wood pile and tinder with the flame from the match. I look forward to each of your feedback. God bless, Foster….***END***
From: Ron Johnson
To: Foster Friess, Pete Ricketts, Joe Ricketts, Todd Ricketts, and others
Date: March 19, 2013
Subject: RE: Ron, what a great start you give us allŠ.
A couple of quick thoughts for the group. I agree, the first step should be convening a group of key donors. Who is asked and included is critical. Phil Anschutz would be highly valuable…I use his Foundation for A Better Life ads as an example of messaging excellence all the time. We need to find people whose only interest is saving America. People with alternate motives could derail the effort. Defining the mission of this effort as much as possible before the first meeting would also be helpful.
Rick Santorum is 100% correct. The influence a group of donors could have on the political process is enormous – as long as they are willing to immerse themselves in the process. If publicized, however, it could easily backfire. We need to engage people that understand this and can keep it highly confidential (at least in the early stages).Rick Santorum is 100% correct. The influence a group of donors could have on the political process is enormous – as long as they are willing to immerse themselves in the process. If publicized, however, it could easily backfire. We need to engage people that understand this and can keep it highly confidential (at least in the early stages).

From: Pete Ricketts

To: Joe Ricketts
Date: May 30, 2012
Subject: Madison Amendment
This Madison Amendment idea might be just the way to start on your idea of a constitutional convention to address the budget. Please read the material below and let’s discuss.
[A policy brief from the Madison Coalition is attached, which proposes legislation that would “give 34 states the power to force Congress to propose a specific Amendment states want without holding a convention at all.”]

From: [Ending spending president] Brian Baker
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: October 4, 2012
Subject: Fwd: Coal
Joe—see the attached script. I will call you about this.
Forwarded message from: Steve Bannon
From: Joe Ricketts
To: Brian Baker:
Date: October 4, 2012
Subject: RE: FW: Coal
What would this be for?

From: Brian Baker
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: January 16, 2012
Subject: Pelosi documentary
Joe –
Attached are two outlines from Steve Bannon for the possible documentary on Nancy Pelosi — a short version and a long version. I’ve also attached Steve’s CV. Look forward to discussing at your convenience.

Pelosi 20 Minute Outline Draft

From: Joe Ricketts
To: Todd Ricketts, Peter Ricketts
Date: January 9, 2012
Subject: FW: Pelosi documentary
Todd & Peter,
To help Pelosi get unelected I am proposing to have a documentary made of how she accumulated wealth. Do either or both of you wish to help me. The proposals for doing such are enclosed. Let me know what you think. Dad
From: Pete Ricketts
To: Todd Ricketts, Joe Ricketts
Subject: RE: FW: Pelosi documentary
Date: January 16, 2012
As we discussed Nancy Pelosi is in a district with only 10% Republicans. I doubt this is worth your time and money unless you have a Democrat challenging her in the primary that is credible and then you need to attack her from the left.

On Getting the Hell out of The Impending ‘Welfare’ Society

From: Todd Ricketts
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: January 25, 2012
Subject: The Greece Nextdoor
This why every other day I contemplate moving out of Illinois. If Scott Walker wins maybe I will move north. If not, I may have to move to Texas. Government unions self-dealing themselves outrageous benefits and pensions through the Democratic party have gutted not only Illinois but the entire nation.
Daley bankrupted the city over the last 20 years and when push came shove he conveniently decided to leave office when he realized to was getting around the situation.
[Message includes text of this article from the Wall Street Journal]
From: Joe Ricketts
To: Todd Ricketts
Date: January 22, 2012
Subject: RE: The Greece Nextdoor
Yes, I agree. This is an important year; in this election year we need to elect some people that are patriots and will work to start solve our financial problems before it is too late. If we don’t change, my grandkids will have nothing but misery to manage. On a federal level the debt is getting to the point where we will not have any choices for us to select to manage the situation. When we reach that “tipping Point”, as some European countries have, the only direction for the economy is down and that brings misery to everyone.
Scott Walker is one of the patriots. It just amazes me that people want benefits from the government, knowing that these costs increase the debt. Don’t they ever think about how that debt is going to be repaid? If taxes get too high, people leave which is why I’m a resident of Wyoming.
For many years I worked, scraped and saved to build a company that employed hundreds of people, then thousands, at good jobs in NE. but the State says that because I was financially successfully that I should pay a higher rate if taxes. It is insulting as well as economically detrimental.
Higher taxes will motivate businesses and people to leave Illinois. The same thing is happening in NY. This result is a lower tax base aggregating the problem and starting the spiral downward.
This is why I’m putting so much time, effort and money into Ending Spending, my advocate group.

From: [Curent Illinois Governor] Bruce Rauner
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: May 20, 2012
Subject: (no subject)
Hi joe – hope you’re doing well despite all the recent baloney in the media – I’ll be riding the harley from livingston down to jackson for nfwf board meeting aug 13-15 and the freedomworks/tea party conference aug 16-17th – will be free afternoon of 15th and morning of 16th and was wondering if you’d like to go for a ride or have a cigar
From: Joe Ricketts
To: Bruce Rauner
Date: June 3, 2012
Subject: RE: (no subject)
Hi Bruce,
I’m co-hosting a cocktail party for AEI in Jackson on the 15th but these things usually don’t last long. I don’t have the details as yet so let me get back to you after I get them.
I’m not a taking my motorcycle out of storage this summer as I will not have time to ride it; got a very full summer lined up. I enjoy being busy but not really this busy but things will slow down after the elections. If the mandate of Obama Care is not knocked down and if Obama gets reelected I may have to give up my citizenship and go to New Zealand.
A cigar sounds good.

From: Joe Ricketts
To: [Quebec lawyer and former politician] Michel Légére
Date: November 15, 2012
Subject: RE: Food for thoughts
Thank you so much Michel,
In this last election the population voted to take our country from a Free Enterprise society to a Welfare society. This is the beginning of the economic spiral downward for America and it will continue slowly but surely. I am an entrepreneur and need a prosperous economy for me to bring financial benefits to society and myself. So, I really need to rethink my future.
I’m taking a look at the top 10 freest economies in the world which include Australia, New Zealand and Canada. This will entail a lot of work and so will take time, maybe 12 or 24 months. I’m not sure what all of this analysis will bring to me.
At the same time I will be working to help bring fiscal responsibility to the US. We’ll see how the next few years will develop.
I do believe in God and am very appreciative of all that he has given to me but also feel a responsibility to use these gifts appropriately.
Thanks for your care and comments, wish to you the best of my friendship, Joe

From: Steve Bannon
To: Joe Ricketts
Date: November 8, 2012
Subject: (no subject)
Hey…when u get a chance I would like to come visit with you and talk u out of moving to new zealand

DC Week Review Memo

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