Former prosecutor talks about Greitens
COLUMBIA - Former Cole County prosecutor Bill Tackett spoke with KOMU 8 News about why Gov. Greitens chose Tuesday to resign. Tackett explained how a ruling made by a judge earlier in the day led Greitens to step down.
A judge ruled that a nonprofit called A New Missouri, Inc, that promotes Greitens' agenda had to hand over documents. Tackett said information in those documents could expose information the governor does not want made public.
"Once the ruling came down on the dark money with A New Missouri, that's when the room got really cold and silent. Because then you're talking about exposing all of those donors and what they might have to say about that connection between that committee and Greitens and suddenly you've got a circuit attorney's office that's willing to play ball," Tackett said. "That was a giant can of worms that got opened up by that ruling."
Critics say when politicians are sponsored by a non-profit, it lets powerful donors jump through a legal loop hole. The donors can keep their identities and their money hidden. Hence the term, "dark money."
"Instantly that changed the playing field because that's dark money, that's something they don't want to get into because of who gave the money and for what purpose and is it tied to Greitens instead of being independent. So, when that ruling hit it looks like they contacted the circuit attorney's office and said, 'Let's make a plea deal,'" Tacket said.
Tackett said the allegations of improper use of campaign finances by the governor could be tied to a lack of political experience.
"When you look at this historically, when you have people who have not risen up through the political ranks that know the rules, they get a sense of, 'The people sent me here and I'm going to drain the swamp, I'm going to clean out all the hacks.' They tend to operate above the law in their minds because it's a mandate and, 'I'm here for the people,' and they really just haven't been around all of these laws. And, so this does happen to people who don't have any political experience because along with the political experience, and everybody knows the downside, of course, comes an understanding of the law," he said.
Tackett stressed the seriousness of campaign finance fraud saying, "people go to prison for that." He said just because some of the state investigations are wrapping up, doesn't mean the U.S. Attorney's Office won't pursue action as well.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office said Tuesday it made a fair and just deal with Greitens' defense team and added they will release more details Wednesday. The circuit attorney's office is still handling the computer tampering charge against Greitens.
No deals were made in the invasion of privacy case currently being handled by the Jackson County prosecutor after St. Louis' circuit attorney dropped the charge. No charges are currently filed, but the newly assigned prosecutor is still investigating whether to refile any charges.