Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts holds up the trophy as he celebrates with the team after Game 7 of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians last night. The Cubs won 8-7 in 10 innings to win the series 4-3. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
By: ASHLEY BALCERZAK
It only took 108 years.
The Chicago Cubs finally achieved what seemed to be the impossible, breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat in a remarkable comeback to beat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series 4 games to 3.
In honor of the end of the drought, OpenSecrets Blog thought it would be only fitting to profile the Ricketts family, the owners of the Cubs and pretty big political megadonors. (The family has spent almost $16 million this cycle alone.) Most of the clan donates to Republicans, with one notable exception.
The patriarch of the family, billionaire John "Joe" Ricketts, is the founder and former CEO of online broker TD Ameritrade, and No. 13 with his wife Marlene on our megadonors list for giving generously to Republican candidates, parties and outside groups.
The parents poured the bulk of their funds (about $29.4 million) into the super PAC Ending Spending, linked to the 501(c)(4) with the same name where Joe Ricketts is the founder and chairman, and Todd Ricketts, his son, the CEO. This cycle, the super PAC has mostly backed Kelly Ayotte in her fight for the New Hampshire Senate with $1.9 million in support.
At the presidential level, even though the couple furiously opposed Republican presidential candidate Trump in the primaries, funneling $5.5 million to anti-Trump Our Principles PAC, the Ricketts reversed course in September and gave $1 million to a Trump-supporting super PAC, Future45.
The pair pushed hard to get their first-choice candidate, Scott Walker, to the general, giving $5 million to the pro-Walker Unintimidated PAC. (They were refunded $3.9 million of that after Walker pulled out of the race last year.) Their top-priority candidates since 1990 include Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) with $30,800, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) with $12,400, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with $11,900 and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) with $10,400. The only presidential candidate they donated to directly this year was Walker, maxing out with $5,400.
The Ricketts children aren't stingy, either.
The Cubs' chairman Tom and his wife, Cecelia, who is a dermatologist in Wilmette, Ill., have doled out about $178,000 to political candidates and PACs. About a third of the funds, went to the MLB's political action committee, which as we reported, has been known to be a little late to the game with its FEC filings. The siblings seem to stick together: the couple also gave the most that was legally allowed to Tom's brother, Pete. Other top recipients included the RNC ($28,500) and the Republican Party of Nebraska ($20,800), former Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) with $9,200 and former Rep. Mark Kennedy ($8,400). This cycle, the couple has only given to the MLB PAC and Joan McCarthy Lasonde, running in the Illinois District 9 race, this election cycle.
Todd Ricketts, the president of Ending Spending, has donated almost $640,000 since 2004, mostly to conservative causes (except one $2,500 donation to Libertarian candidate for president Gary Johnson in 2012). Todd gave the most to his super PAC, $200,000, and also posted big gifts to the RNC ($93,600), pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future ($50,000), and New Prosperity Foundation ($25,000), which spent a majority of its funds attacking Evan Bayh's effort to once again be a senator from Indiana. As for candidates, Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) received $15,500 over the years, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) $10,600 and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) $8,500. It also appears that he supported his brother Pete's failed run for senator, but was reimbursed all his money.
John "Pete" Ricketts, current governor of Nebraska, has stayed on his side of the aisle, giving all $570,000 to Republicans. He's been most generous with the RNC ($108,000), Nebraska's Republican Party ($64,000) and Restore Our Future ($50,000). As for candidates, he mostly padded the pockets of Republicans from Nebraska: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry with $28,000, Rep. Lee Terry ($24,000) and Rep. Adrian Smith ($22,000). As for the $8 million he raised in his 2014 bid for governor, the majority came from the securities and investment industries ($1.5 million), real estate ($309,000) and building materials and equipment ($195,000), according to data from the National Institute on Money in State Politics. (Back in 2006, his parents maxed out on their son's try to be senator from Nebraska; he lost that race to Democrat Ben Nelson even though Ricketts raised twice as much cash.)
Daughter Laura Ricketts, president of Ecotravel LLC and board member of Lambda Legal, stands apart from her family: The only Republican she's ever donated to is her brother Pete. The rest of the LGBT activist's almost $2 million in contributions since 2004 went to Democratic groups and candidates. Her favorite causes: the pro-Clinton L PAC ($1.1 million), the DNC Services Corp. ($257,000) and EMILY's List's super PAC Women Vote! ($205,000). Her top candidates are all Dems from Illinois: Rep. Jan Schakowsky with $19,000, Rep. Mike Quigley with $16,000 and Rep. Tammy Duckworth with $11,000.