Missouri mega-donor, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts bankrolling PAC attacking Eric Greitens

By: - July 21, 2022 10:17 am
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. (Rebecca S. Gratz for the Nebraska Examiner)

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has joined forces with Missouri’s most prolific Republican donor to work to defeat former Gov. Eric Greitens in the GOP Senate primary in the Show Me State.

Ricketts, a prolific contributor to Republican campaigns, recently gave $250,000 to a political action committee devoted to defeating Greitens, who headlined a political event in 2017 organized by Ricketts.

But Ricketts, after a press conference in Lincoln on Thursday, said that Greitens was “unfit” to be a governor and is unfit to be a senator.

The Nebraska governor said Greitens, before becoming Missouri’s governor in 2016, was unfaithful to his wife, adding that there were also allegations that he abused his children.

“He’s not fit to be in office,” Ricketts said.

Show Me Values, a political action committee formed June 2, is the biggest spender in the Missouri Senate race that has now cost almost $34 million. Its first full disclosure report, covering June, shows it raised $1.35 million during the month.

Rex Sinquefield, who has contributed more than $41 million to Missouri candidates over the past decade, contributed $1 million, with Ricketts giving $250,000. The remaining $100,000 was contributed by August A. Busch III, former CEO of Anheuser-Busch who is a longtime GOP donor and half-brother to Democratic Senate hopeful Trudy Busch-Valentine.

Show Me Values disclosed its June donors Wednesday, the same day it also reported to the Federal Election Commission that its total spending in the race has reached $7.4 million.

The PAC has spent $3.6 million on television ads hammering Greitens by highlighting child and spousal abuse allegations made by Greitens’ ex-wife, Sheena Greitens, and accusing him of being too cozy with China.

The contribution increases Sinquefield’s investment in the Senate race to $2.5 million. Sinquefield, a supporter of Attorney General Eric Schmitt, contributed $1.5 million to a PAC called Save Missouri Values, which has reported spending $3.6 million backing Schmitt.

He has also contributed the legal maximum of $5,800 to Schmitt’s candidate committee.

Ricketts, elected in 2014 and son of the founder of TD Ameritrade, can’t run for governor again this year because of term limits. He has also contributed about $675,000 in other federal races this year, FEC filings show.

Ricketts and Greitens were once political friends. Politico, in a story about the contribution, noted that Greitens was one of the headliners at a 2017 political event hosted by Ricketts.

This article first appeared in the Missouri Independent, a sister site of the Nebraska Examiner in the States Newsroom Network. Nebraska Examiner senior reporter Paul Hammel contributed to this report.

Nebraska Examiner senior reporter Paul Hammel contributed to this report.

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Rudi Keller
Rudi Keller

Rudi Keller covers the state budget, energy and the legislature for the Missouri Independent. He has spent 22 of his 30 years in journalism covering Missouri government and politics, most recently as the news editor of the Columbia Daily Tribune. Keller has won awards for spot news and investigative reporting.