June 24, 2014 - Lincoln (AP)
Warren Buffett has contributed $100,000 to the Democratic candidate for governor in the billionaire investor's home state of Nebraska, in what may be his largest donation to a single candidate at one time.
The contribution to Chuck Hassebrook was disclosed Tuesday through the candidate's filing with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. Hassebrook, a former University of Nebraska Regent and director of the Center for Rural Affairs, is running against Republican Pete Ricketts, a wealthy Omaha businessman whose family owns the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
Buffett, the chairman of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway, contributes most often to Democratic candidates. A spokeswoman for Buffett says he made the contribution because he believes Hassebrook would make "an outstanding governor."
The donation may be one of the largest that Buffett, 83, has made to a single candidate at one time, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Buffett has spent $222,000 on various congressional and presidential campaigns since 1997, according to the FEC.
He also gave $65,800 to the Obama Victory Fund during the 2012 campaign, and $10,000 to the Nebraska Senate Victory Fund, with ties to former Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey. No single contribution was more than $100,000. Buffett also has given to state legislative candidates in Nebraska.
Buffett's political views have at times been controversial in the business world, particularly on the subject of taxes. He's made no secret of his belief that the wealthy should pay higher taxes, and he says he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
Buffett grew up a Republican like his father, Howard, who represented Nebraska's 2nd District in Congress, 1943-49 and 1951-53. The younger Buffett switched parties during the early 1960s, saying his views on civil rights aligned more with Democrats.