JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Democratic consultant said Wednesday that he is filing a new ethics complaint alleging Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens falsely reported how his campaign obtained a donor list from a charity he founded and failed to disclose that it also got the charity’s email list.
The complaint from former state Democratic Party Chairman Roy Temple asks the Missouri Ethics Commission to refer the case against Greitens to a prosecutor and demand that his campaign pay a fine.
An attorney for Greitens’ campaign called it “a spurious complaint” that should be dismissed.
The Republican governor already faces troubles on multiple fronts. He was indicted earlier this year by a St. Louis grand jury on an invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a nonconsensual photo of a partially nude woman with whom he has acknowledged having an extramarital affair. The grand jury investigation is ongoing and appears to have broadened beyond that particular incident.
The chairman of a special House investigatory committee said Wednesday that it also had used subpoenas as part of its separate investigation into the allegations against Greitens, and is on track to report its findings within a 40-day deadline.
The Missouri attorney general’s office also has an open inquiry into the charity Greitens founded, The Mission Continues, after media reports that its donor and email lists may have been used by Greitens’ campaign. Such nonprofits are barred from participating in political campaigns on behalf of candidates, and The Mission Commission has denied providing its donors’ information for political use.
The Associated Press first reported in October 2016 that Greitens’ campaign had accessed a list of Mission Continues donors as he was launching his campaign in early 2015. The AP found Greitens’ campaign had raised nearly $2 million from donors who had previously given significant amounts to the charity.
At the time, Greitens denied to the AP that he worked off the charity’s donor list. But after Temple subsequently filed an ethics complaint, Greitens signed a settlement with the Ethics Commission last April acknowledging his campaign had used the list. Greitens amended his campaign finance report to show the charity’s donor list as a $600 in-kind contribution from campaign worker Danny Laub.
The campaign also agreed to pay $100 of a $1,000 fine, with the rest to be owed if the Ethics Commission found it committed any more violations in the next two years.
Last month, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that The Mission Continues donor list had been emailed to Laub in January 2015 by Krystal Taylor, an employee of Greitens promotional company who had previously worked at the charity.
Various people who originally had supplied their emails to The Mission Continues also have said they later received Greitens campaign emails.
Temple’s latest ethics complaint cites those reports while naming Greitens, his campaign committee, Laub and his campaign treasurer Jeff Stuerman. It alleges the campaign didn’t actually obtain the charity donor from Laub and purposely filed a false finance report, which is a misdemeanor under Missouri law. The complaint also alleges the campaign should have reported receiving a Mission Continues email list.
“What makes this particularly egregious is that there was a purposeful attempt by Greitens and his campaign to conceal their use of the assets of The Mission Continues,” Temple said.
Michael Adams, an attorney for Greitens’ campaign, responded: “We look forward to yet another dismissal of a spurious complaint by Roy Temple.”
Though the Ethics Commission found probable cause that Greitens violated campaign finance laws in response to Temple’s first complaint about The Mission Continues, the panel dismissed several other complaints Temple filed in 2016 related to other groups that had supported Greitens.
Temple also had met with the husband of the woman with whom Greitens had an affair in fall 2016, but Temple has said he didn’t publicize those allegations at the time because the man didn’t want him to do so.
The new ethics complaints could face some logistical complications. The six-member Ethics Commission will lack a quorum after Thursday, when the terms of three members expire. Replacements must be appointed by Greitens and confirmed by the Senate. In the meantime, the Ethics Commission will be unable to decide whether complaints should be dismissed or referred to its counsel for further investigation. By law, the commission is supposed to make that determination within 90 days of receiving a complaint.
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