Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens allegedly directed a staffer to obtain a donor list from the veterans charity he founded and lied about it to the state ethics commission, according to a special House committee report released Wednesday.
Immediately, Democrats and some Republicans again called for Greitens, who faces two felony charges, to step down. Greitens' camp dug in with legal counsel Catherine Hanaway's statement that said the report "does a tremendous disservice to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions."
The report, which is based on interviews with a number of former staffers, details things that are similar to the computer tampering felony charge from April 20 in St. Louis Circuit Court. In that charge, he's alleged to have directed a staffer to illegally take the donor list from the charity, which never authorized the campaign’s use of the list.
The allegations directly contradict state law, which does not allow information to be taken from a charity without permission, as well as Greitens’ prior statement to the state ethics commission.
Background and details
As early as October 2016, before Greitens was elected governor, the Associated Press reported he’d raised close to $2 million from people who also donated to The Mission Continues. The AP had obtained a spreadsheet showing the names, email addresses and telephone numbers of people who gave at least $1,000 to The Mission Continues.
And in April 2017, Greitens was fined by the Missouri Ethics Commission for failing to report the list as an in-kind contribution; he was not personally connected to the exchange. Greitens signed the commission's order, however, saying that he received the list from former campaign manager Danny Laub. Laub told state and federal investigators that was false.
What the report details is that Greitens allegedly directed an aide, Krystal Proctor, to email the list of donors in 2014 and strategized in meetings ways to use the list for campaign fundraising purposes.
The committee members, who said they had more than 100,000 documents from The Mission Continues, did not recommend specific consequences.
The Mission Continues also is the focus of an investigation by the state attorney general’s office. Plus, the first-term governor is scheduled to go to trial May 14 on a felony invasion of privacy charge connected to a 2015 affair.
Although some Democrats are calling for immediate consideration of articles of impeachment, House Democratic Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty said the committee should be given additional time to complete their work.
She said she believes a special session could begin "30 minutes after" the regular session adjourns, as well as that "the only person who doesn't see where this is going appears to be Eric Greitens."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Ballwin GOP Rep. Shamed Dogan said Wednesday's report was "extremely troubling" and that Greitens knew taking the list "was wrong at the time he was doing it."
But the statement from Hanaway, who used to be the House speaker, lambasted the committee's report.
"This should have been an open process," she wrote, adding that two of the people interviewed were "replaced long before election day" and the matter was "settled long ago."
And Greitens campaign staffer Austin Chambers told the Springfield News-Leader that Laub had the donor list when the gubernatorial campaign started.
"To say that I provided false information, or misled Laub to go along with false information, is absolutely untrue," Chambers told the newspaper.
The Special Investigative Committee On Oversight was convened in March after Greitens was indicted the first time. Its previous report included allegations that the woman with whom Greitens had an affair had unwanted sexual encounter with him and that he threatened to blackmail her with a mostly nude photo that he took without her permission.
Republican Speaker of the House Todd Richardson called the report “beyond disturbing,” and dozens of politicians from either side of aisle demanded that the governor step down.
Editor's note: This is a breaking story and will be updated.
Brian Ellison is host of KCUR's Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast and reports on Missouri politics and government. Follow him on Twitter @ptsbrian.