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Eric Greitens campaign attorney is GOP nominee for Kentucky secretary of state

A screenshot from a campaign advertisement for Michael G. Adams.
A screenshot from a campaign advertisement for Michael G. Adams. Michael G. Adams for Secretary of State

When Eric Greitens resigned from office a little more than a year ago, he still faced a litany of accusations that his campaign and dark money nonprofit had engaged in illegal activity.

The Republican lawmaker who led the Greitens impeachment investigation went so far as to refer to the former governor’s campaign apparatus as a “criminal enterprise from its inception.”

Throughout the saga, Greitens’ campaign attorney was Michael Adams.

Today, while Greitens remains largely out of the public eye, Adams is the Republican nominee for Kentucky secretary of state, which, like in Missouri, is the office that oversees elections.

The election takes place next month for the office being vacated by a term-limited Democrat, Alison Lundergan Grimes.

His association with Greitens has gone virtually unmentioned in coverage of the Kentucky campaign, even as his law firm continues to be paid by the former governor’s campaign committee. Greitens’ campaign paid Adams’ Washington, D.C.,-based firm $70,000 in 2018 and another $9,000 so far this year.

Adams is still secretary and treasurer of A New Missouri Inc., the dark money nonprofit that Greitens allies founded in early 2017.

During last year’s Missouri House impeachment inquiry, lawmakers believed A New Missouri was created to illegally skirt donation limits and conceal the identities of major donors who were either politically troublesome or otherwise prohibited by federal or state law from contributing to a campaign.

Additionally, Adams was the attorney involved in a settlement between the Greitens campaign and the Missouri Ethics Commission over use of a veterans’ charity’s donor list for fundraising. Greitens’ former campaign manager and leaders of the veterans charity testified under oath last year that Greitens illegally took the list from the charity without permission then lied to the state ethics commission.

The criminal charges regarding use of the charity donor list were dropped as part of a plea agreement that included Greitens’ resignation. And after he left office the legislative investigation into any alleged campaign finance violations were dropped, although an ethics complaint filed by a GOP lawmakers remains unresolved.

Contacted by The Star, Adams said legal ethics rules prohibit him from speaking about his representation of Greitens. But he said he has represented many high-profile clients at all levels of government and politics, “due to my reputation for integrity.”

“In Missouri matters,” Adams said, “as in all matters in which I’ve engaged in my distinguished legal career, I have conducted myself ethically and complied with the law, and no legal authority has found to the contrary.”

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Jason Hancock is The Star’s lead political reporter, providing coverage of government and politics on both sides of the state line. A three-time National Headliner Award winner, he has written about politics for more than a decade for news organizations across the Midwest.
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