Committee investigating Greitens says he lied to state Ethics Commission

6 months 2 weeks 6 days ago Wednesday, May 02 2018 May 2, 2018 Wednesday, May 02, 2018 2:58:00 PM CDT May 02, 2018 in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director
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JEFFERSON CITY - The House Special Investigative Committee looking into scandals involving Gov. Eric Greitens said in a report Wednesday there is compelling evidence he knew he was using a charity donor list illegally for campaign fundraising and falsified a report to the Missouri Ethics Committee about it.

At issue: a donor list Greitens he got without permission from a charity he founded, The Mission Continues. He used the list to raise money for his political campaign - nearly $2 million according to some reports.

Committee Chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said, “The report shows the governor took advantage of a charity that works hard to take care of our veterans. The committee found that the Mission Continues was the true owner of the fundraising list and its property was taken without permission and used inappropriately for political gain.”

Greitens did admit to using the list and paid a small fine to the Ethics Commission, but the House committee said he lied in his statements at the time, specifically about how he came to be in possession of the list and how he used it.

Greitens' statement to the Ethics Commission said the list was an in-kind donation from former campaign worker Danny Laub. Laub told the House committee that statement was “false in every particular.”

In a deposition Laub said, "The whole document made me sick."

The committee said Greitens told his political aides to use the list even though he had signed an agreement never to disclose the charity's confidential donor information.

The legal counsel for the Greitens for Missouri Campaign said the committee's investigation was flawed because the campaign itself was never asked to testify.

Catherine Hanaway said, "If Chairman Barnes were on a quest to find out the truth, he has unfinished business to conduct. He ought to ask the campaign for its version of events before acting as judge and jury in a matter that was settled long ago."

Hanaway also said the use of the donor list was an issue that was already settled with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

"The sum and substance of the first 70 or so paragraphs outline a charge—that The Mission Continues list was used for campaign purposes—considered and resolved a year ago by the MEC with a $100 fine, less than most speeding tickets," she said.

Authorities are reviewing the possibility of charging Greitens with filing a false campaign report, according to the Associated Press.

Greitens is facing felony computer tampering charges related to the list. 

Shortly after his April 20 indictment, Greitens said the charge was another attempt by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner to smear his name in a political witch hunt.

It was Gardner who charged Greitens with invasion of privacy after he was accused of blackmailing a woman he had an affair with.

The woman testified at length before the House committee, which, in an earlier report, deemed her “credible.”

The committee is now well past the initial 40 days it set for itself to look into allegations against Greitens. It released its first report, on the blackmail allegations, on April 11.

Each new development - first word of the affair, the invasion of privacy charges, the committee's first report, the tampering charges and the latest report - brings fresh calls for Greitens resignation - or impeachment.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said Wednesday Greitens is "without honor" and as evidence against him mounts there is "no other way this ends.

Rep. Mike Stephens, R-Bolivar, called the report "extremely serious" and "troubling."

"They will leave lasting repercussions on our state," he said.

Greitens has repeatedly and vehemently said he will not step down. He said the truth will prevail in court. His criminal trial on the invasion of privacy charges starts May 14.

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