Joe Ricketts gave to every 2012 GOP candidate, even Gary Johnson

ByRachel Rose Hartman
May 18, 2012, 1:07 PM

— -- Billionaire political donor Joe Ricketts clearly has President Barack Obama in his line of fire this election season, as we learned this week.

But when it comes to Ricketts writing checks, apparently all Republicans--and even some libertarians--are welcome.

A glance at Ricketts' personal political donations this election cycle reveals that the TD AmeriTrade co-founder and Chicago Cubs owner isn't discerning about spreading his love--and money.

On Dec. 29, 2011, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, prior to the first presidential nominating contest, Ricketts ran down the list of presidential contenders and maxed out a primary donation of $2,500 to each of the following candidates : Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum... and Ron Paul.

He didn't stop there.

Ricketts also donated $2,500 to now-libertarian nominee Gary Johnson. Then, he doubled down on Johnson, handing him another $2,500 in January-- presumably for the general election.

But apparently, his first choice was Tim Pawlenty.

Ricketts gave his first individual donation this election to the former governor of Minnesota. In June 2011, Ricketts donated a total of $7,500 to Pawlenty's campaign. But he took back $5,000 of that in two installments, evening him up with the rest of the field by the fall.

In another twist, even though Ricketts, a Nebraska native, is now known for his game-changing support for Deb Fischer in the Nebraska Senate primary, Ricketts first gave a $500 donation to her challenger Don Stenberg last fall. Still, Ricketts' support for Fischer proved pivotal in this year's primary, as the challenger experienced a late surge partly due to Ricketts' political advertising help via his committee. Ricketts' son, Peter Ricketts, was the 2006 Nebraska Senate nominee.

But individual donations are just a snapshot of Ricketts' political portfolio. His super PAC, the Ending Spending Action Fund, has a $10 million anti-Obama plan ready for this election season. He can also donate unlimited amounts to other select super PACs as well as give to various committees.

Ricketts ponied up $500,000 in December to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a Texas-based super PAC seeking to topple long-term incumbents on both sides of the aisle. To date, the PAC has spent more on opposing Republicans than Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

In the 2010 election cycle, Ricketts personally contributed to many Republican incumbents and candidates for Congress including Nebraska Sen. Mike Johanns, Nebraska Reps. Lee Terry and Adrian Smith, as well as Democrat Steve Pagliuca, a managing partner at Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics who ran for Massachusetts Senate in 2009 to succeed Ted Kennedy. Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Joe Wilson, Paul Ryan, John Boehner and many additional Republicans received greenbacks from Ricketts. (Oh, and so did Joe Lieberman.)

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