Ending Spending

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Ending Spending consists of Ending Spending Inc., a nonprofit issue advocacy group, and Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC originally formed in 2010 as Taxpayers Against Earmarks, a group that advocated against congressional earmarks. In 2011, the group changed its name and expanded its focus to include fiscal conservative causes.[1] Ending Spending was founded by Joe Ricketts, the former CEO of TD Ameritrade. Todd Ricketts is the current CEO.[2] Brian Baker, a former advisor to Senator Bob Dole and Senator Richard Shelby, is the current president.[3]

Although Ending Spending is officially registered as nonpartisan, founder Joe Ricketts funneled $4,120,000 of contributions into Ending Spending Action Fund in 2014 alone,[4] the majority of which was used in campaigns against Democratic candidates.[5] According to NPR, "Ending Spending has always backed Republicans."[6]

Campaign Spending

Activities in 2012 Elections

In 2012, Ending Spending Action Fund put about $14 million towards federal races,[7] spending $10 million in support of Mitt Romney and the remainder either in support of Republicans or in opposition to Democratic congressional candidates.[8] Ending Spending also ran ads attacking "Budget Bandits," politicians they view as guilty of irresponsible spending. An Ending Spending video titled "Next Time" attacked personal controversies regarding John Edwards, John Ensign, Christopher Lee, and Anthony Weiner, suggesting that they were not taking the reported debt crisis seriously enough.

"On the Trail" Video Series

During the 2012 elections, Ending Spending invited presidential candidates to answer a series of questions regarding federal spending and national debt. The "On the Trail" website describes the process in which "each candidate was provided with questions in advance and conversations with the candidates followed a typical campaign event, such as a debate or town hall," with the goal of these questions being, "to hear the candidates' solutions for balancing the budget, reforming entitlements, and ending the reckless spending in Washington."[9]

Through "On the Trail", Ending Spending interviewed:

Activities in the 2011/2012 Wisconsin Recall Elections

"Ending Spending" Picks Up Walker Campaign Slogan: "Forward"

The Ending Spending Action Fund spent around $245,000 on a pro-Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ad buy in early May 2012, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. [10] The feel-good ad echoed the Walker campaign's claims about the value of his limits on collective bargaining rights and education cuts and highlighted his claims to be moving Wisconsin "forward" (the same term used as proof of President Obama's supposed communist sympathies when he adopted it as his campaign slogan). [11]

Ricketts was one of Walker's top donors, giving at least $100,000 directly to the recall campaign on January 24th, 2012.

Activities in the 2014 Elections

In the 2014 election cycle, Ending Spending contributed a total of $427,753 to groups like Republican National Committee, National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Kentucky.[12] Ending Spending also ranked within the Top 10 groups for outside spending with $27,056,233 in outside contributions.[13] The group had an especially strong presence in the Georgia Senate race where it ran a two-week, $2 million advertising campaign.[14] In Colorado, Ending Spending allocated $1.4 million towards TV ads opposing Democratic Senator Mark Udall and supporting Republican Representative Cory Gardner.[15]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. Aaron Blake, "Deb Fischer’s knight in super PAC armor: Joe Ricketts," Washington Post, May 16, 2012.
  2. Lynn Sweet, "Todd Ricketts takes over SuperPAC," Chicago Sun-Times, October 25, 2013.
  3. Ending Spending, "About Brian Baker," organizational website, accessed November 17, 2014.
  4. Open Secrets, "Ending Spending Action Fund Contributors," organizational website, accessed November 17, 2014.
  5. Open Secrets, "Ending Spending Action Fund Outside Spending," organizational website, accessed November 17, 2014.
  6. Peter Overby, "A political family, funding and running on both sides of the aisle: it’s all politics," National Public Radio, September 1, 2014.
  7. Open Secrets, "Ending Spending Action Fund," organizational website, accessed November 17, 2014.
  8. Sean Sullivan, "Meet the super PAC both Republicans and Democrats should fear," Washington Post, April 10, 2014.
  9. Ending Spending, On the Trail with Ending Spending, organizational website, accessed May 23, 2013.
  10. Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, "Hijacking Recall 2012," organizational website, posted April 30, 2012, updated May 22, 2012.
  11. Bottari, Mary, "Scott Walker and Barack Obama Have the Same Campaign Slogan, Who is the Commie Pinko Now?," PR Watch, May 2, 2012.
  12. Open Secrets, “Ending Spending: Summary,” organizational website, accessed November 17, 2014.]
  13. Open Secrets, “2014 Outside Spending, by Group,” organizational website, accessed November 17, 2014.
  14. Sullivan, Sean, “Conservative super PAC to drop another $200 million in Georgia Senate race,” Washington Post, October 9, 2014.
  15. Fish, Sandra, “'Chicago Cubs’ owners buy $1.14M in anti-Udall TV ads,” Colorado Public Radio, October 20, 2014.