Complaint accuses Greitens groups of concealing donors

2 months 2 weeks 2 days ago Tuesday, July 10 2018 Jul 10, 2018 Tuesday, July 10, 2018 11:16:00 PM CDT July 10, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — An ethics complaint filed Tuesday alleges two groups connected to former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens were used to conceal donor identities.

The complaint, filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission by Republican Rep. Jay Barnes, accused Greitens' gubernatorial campaign and a nonprofit that promoted Greitens' agenda of multiple campaign finance violations.

Barnes chaired the House committee tasked with investigating the former governor, who resigned June 1 while facing potential impeachment over allegations of sexual and political misconduct.

Attorney Catherine Hanaway, who represents the nonprofit and Greitens' campaign, did not have immediate comment.

Emails included in the complaint feature staffers discussing how unnamed donors should not give directly to the campaign, "so they don't appear on our reports."

One email about a "restricted donor" was from Nick Ayers, a former consultant to Greitens who is now Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff.

Ayers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Among the litany of charges, the complaint said Greitens first failed to officially form a campaign committee on time. Missouri law requires that candidates formally establish a committee within 20 days after they've started making or spending money to influence an election. The complaint alleged that Greitens purposely waited months after he began maneuvering to become Missouri's next governor to file.

After Greitens was elected, the complaint said several of his campaign staff members established the nonprofit called A New Missouri specifically to skirt new donation limits while essentially functioning as an unofficial arm of Greitens' operation.

"A New Missouri, Inc. effectively operated as a 'fictitious name,'" the complaint said, in order "to conceal the identity of the actual source of the contribution and the actual recipient."

Democratic Reps. Gina Mitten and Tommie Pierson, who served on the House committee, said in a statement that Greitens and his former staffers "cannot be allowed to escape accountability."

"After it reviews that evidence, we are confident the commission will determine that punishment against Greitens and his associates is warranted under the law," they said.

The Missouri Ethics Commission can levy fines, and in some instances refer cases to prosecutors.

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