Disgraced former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens may no longer be in office, but he’s not out of hot water.
The GOP-led Missouri House committee tasked with investigating allegations against Greitens found evidence that he engaged in “multiple acts constituting crimes, misconduct, and acts of moral turpitude,” according to a scathing Monday letter from committee chairman. A “super-majority” of the panel’s members would have recommended the governor’s impeachment on those grounds, Republican Rep. Jay Barnes wrote.
Barnes also announced that he intends to file a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission alleging that Greitens’ 2016 campaign and a Greitens-linked nonprofit, A New Missouri, Inc., improperly worked together to dodge campaign finance disclosure laws.
Barnes wrote that he now believes A New Missouri “was a criminal enterprise from its inception – designed to illegally skirt donation limits and conceal the identities of major donors to Eric Greitens and ballot initiatives relating to right-to-work that were supported by the former governor.”
Greitens stepped down from office on May 29, finally caving to immense bipartisan pressure to give up his seat.
In exchange for his resignation, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner agreed to drop a felony computer tampering charge against him for allegedly obtaining a donor list from The Mission Continues, a veterans’ charity he founded, and using it to raise money for his gubernatorial bid.
Gardner previously dropped a felony invasion of privacy charge against Greitens after misconduct by one of her investigators led to her becoming a witness in the case. A special prosecutor was assigned to take up the case, which involved Greitens allegedly attempting to blackmail his former lover with a non-consensual nude photograph. The special prosecutor ultimately decided not to pursue further charges, citing the woman’s desire to put the matter to rest.
Greitens insisted to the end that he had “not broken any laws, nor committed any offense worthy of this treatment.” He admitted only to carrying out an extramarital affair with the woman, his former hairdresser.
Barnes’ letter—and two reports issued by his bipartisan committee—says otherwise.
According to Barnes, Greitens made “slanderous” and “wholly untrue” comments about the woman involved in the blackmail case, and his team gathered “evidence of sexual assault and domestic violence” against her. The woman testified before the committee and to prosecutors that Greitens hit her on multiple occasions, as TPM first reported back in January.
Then there is the computer tampering matter involving the Mission Continues donor list. After Greitens denied any wrongdoing during the 2016 campaign, an ethics commission probe forced him to admit after taking office that he illegally received the list and used it to raise funds for his campaign.
Barnes said the documents obtained by the committee, including one that proves he obtained the list “under false pretenses,” led him to believe that Greitens “faced a near certain criminal conviction” in the case.
The litany of alleged abuses uncovered by the committee go on. Greitens “may have engaged in criminal fraud in a grant application” and may have engaged in “literary fraud” with his work on “Resilience,” a 2015 book about his military service.
Most troublingly, Barnes said the committee found “direct evidence of illegal activity” related to fundraising coordination between Greitens’ campaign and A New Missouri, a 501(c)(4) non-profit that backed his agenda.
“Those in charge of the Greitens’ campaign had a scheme to hide donor identities and attempt to funnel donors to a (c)(4) if a potential donor’s identity would either be politically troublesome or they were otherwise prohibited by federal or state law from contributing to the campaign,” Barnes writes.
He concludes that though there should be “further accountability” for Greitens, particularly in the New Missouri matter, his committee no longer has the constitutional authority or mandate to carry it out.
Barnes notes that the state attorney general, Cole County prosecuting attorney, and Missouri Ethics Commission retain that authority, and that he will make a referral to the latter body next week regarding the alleged campaign finance violations.
Read Rep. Barnes’ full letter below.
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