Nebraska billionaire behind bare-knuckle assault on Nunn
by Kevin Foley
August 01, 2014 04:00 AM | 4672 views | 11 11 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print

With a net worth today of $1 billion and at age 73, I cannot imagine what Joe Ricketts is worried about. Or maybe I can.

The founder of TD Ameritrade is fretting over the crumbs falling from his table. It galls Joe that some of those crumbs might be used to help poor people in the country that facilitated his company’s phenomenal success.

Along with industrialist Charles Koch, investor Tom Perkins and gambler Sheldon Adelstein, Ricketts is another aging billionaire who believes America has let him down. These well-heeled gents and others like them seek to purchase a government that will promote their selfserving agenda if it can’t be achieved through free and fair democratic elections.

These 1 percenters have a simple formula: tap ignorance and anger to convince the 99 per cent to vote against their own best economic interests.

With the help of the right-wing media, these unhappy billionaires have achieved at least part of their objective. Try to name any meaningful legislation passed into law since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives nearly four years ago.

Inertia and government shut downs serve Ricketts, Koch, Perkins and Adelstein as well as anything else.

Conservatism, as I’ve noted, is a political system founded on deception. It cannot survive in a true democracy unless it is supported by distortions, half-truths and lies. There’s no way, for example, billionaires can say, “Americans need to coddle people like us because …” Like the others, Ricketts cowers behind front groups, pumping millions of dollars into right wing propaganda campaigns to support the conservative candidates most likely to bend to his will. Joe has to be careful. TD Ameritrade’s many customers who disagree with his extreme politics might take their business elsewhere. Meantime, quaint notions of decency and honor have no place in Mr. Ricketts’ playbook. In 2012 he planned a racist advertising campaign against Barack Obama that stereotyped the president as a “metrosexual black Abe Lincoln.” After the campaign was exposed, the ads never saw the light of day. Ricketts said he didn’t know anything about it.

Michelle Nunn is a thoroughly decent and honorable human being, born and bred in Georgia to one of our state’s most celebrated families; a wife and mother of two who decided to run for the U.S. Senate because (get this!) she wants to help Georgians.

Before that, Michelle led the volunteer service organization Hands on Atlanta, which later merged with President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Light Foundation.

“She is visionary, creative and a magnet for great people passionate about service,” said Neil Bush, President Bush’s son and chairman of the foundation.

Michelle comes by these attributes naturally. Her dad, Sam, is one of our nation’s most revered statesmen, a former U.S. Senator who brought great credit on Georgia.

If she gets to Washington, Michelle will no doubt distinguish herself too, working with the Senate’s bipartisan women to get things done for middle class, working and poor Georgians.

I knew aliens would crawl out of the woodwork to viciously attack Michelle Nunn. What I didn’t expect was Joe Ricketts’ virulent bare knuckles assault on her so early in the Senate campaign.

Lurking behind something called the Ending Spending Action Fund, Ricketts is paying for TV ads in Georgia that present unflattering photos of Michelle while suggesting Michelle is greedy and selfish, firing half of the 175 Hands on Atlanta staff while taking a salary increase.

This line of attack by Ricketts would be funny if it weren’t so nakedly hypocritical.

Ricketts’ son Pete, the Republican nominee for Nebraska governor, fired 450 employees and then collected more than $700,000 in bonuses as COO of TD Ameritrade.

Hands on America merged with Points of Light and as often happens, there were redundancies, so some were laid off. Nunn went from leading a regional non-profit to CEO of a national volunteer organization, accounting for her bump in pay. Her salary at Points of Light was not unusual for national not-for-profits.

Voters are going to be inundated with all kinds of bogus GOP commercials this election cycle. You folks need to make darned sure your B.S. antennae are finely tuned.

There are Ricketts around every corner.

Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
James Rust
August 08, 2014
If you examine the amounts of money supporting conservative causes and those promoting destroying the U. S. economy in the name of global warming, you will note conservatives are quite poor. Many billionaires support President Obama's energy(global warming) policies with donations that total in the billions. Remember Tom Steyer who wanted matching donations to his $100 million to support candidates that promote global warming.

Someone should ask Michelle Martin where she stands on issues like the Keystone Pipeline, developing our abundant fossil fuel resources, supporting EPA regulations that will increase utitlity bills and harm our economy, etc.
August 02, 2014
Mr. Foley is correct; Sam Nunn was, indeed, a revered statesman.
Bob Johnson
August 02, 2014
Why does Michelle Martin keep calling herself Michelle Nunn? Foley you should be all over this with your hatred of people not telling you their real name.
August 01, 2014
Foe-ley Fool-ey.
why not
August 03, 2014
@anonymous Now that school is starting we will miss your clever remarks when you return to third grade.
Honest Abe
August 01, 2014
Dear Comrade Kevin,

You are so right again with your acute analysis of these old tiresome greedy white male billionaires oppressing the poor people in this country. How cruel and mean of them for doing this. However, YOU can be one of the "Points of Light" for Obama's Border Kids who now more than ever need massive amounts of child support since the bad old Republicans squashed the spending rider that would have put their child support payments on the sore and beaten back of the taxpayers. Just start donating to an escrow account that will funnel child support to these tiniest of refugees. As is written, "words without works are nothing." Make at least a dozen of these precious deers jump with joy when being told that you are going to be their foster dad and are going to give them a real home in your home. And as for Michelle Nunn I don't understand why she doesn't use her married name. Is she ashamed of her husband and children if she has any? Not a good omen for someone who is going to solve our problems. Comrade Kevin please let us all know how much progress you have made in giving Obama's Border Kids at least some child support and a few at least twelve a roof over their heads. Thanks for your expert insight in rooting out entrenched greedy old white male evil in this land.
Samuel Adams
August 01, 2014
Your argument, because Sam performed admirably, so will his daughter, means nothing.

Why is it that Democrats put such faith in dynastic politics? Because they believe not in our Republic but in a dictator-like Marxist rule over the people.
Proud conservative
August 01, 2014
Am so glad I'm invested with TD Ameritrade. This is the only helpful column Kevin Foley has ever written. Now I know I've been trusting in the right company!
August 01, 2014
I did not know that Bill Press had a Brother... I thought one was enough.

With Food Stamps and all other handouts at an all time high... "Vote Buying at its best". Foley is critical of someone willing to put his money where it is needed to return sanity to the Country. Is 17 Trillion of debt enough for Foley?

Michele Nunn is a sideshow in the effort to reign in a lawless administration.

The fact that she would continue the rein of Harry Reid and our Imperial President is enough for me to oppose her.

Rhett Writer
August 01, 2014
Kevin, this kind of reminds me of the way you liberal loonies, with George Soros, Oprah Winfrey and their ilk footing the bills you attacked Sarah Palin, her family, her autistic child, her grandchild, her husband and almsot everybody she ever spoke to. Violent pesonal attacks were the order of the day. Bad taste was the test of the material used.

Then, using the same billionaire financing, you viciously attacked Mitt Romney and his family, even resorting to attacking his religion and his wife's illness.

That you would have the total lack of character and taste to put soemthing like this hate-filled, misrepresentation of reality in writing is a testament to your derpravity.
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