Government & Politics

Express Scripts gave $10,000 to help fund Eric Greitens’ inauguration

On inauguration day in Jefferson City, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and first lady Sheena Greitens led off the inaugural ball by dancing to “Missouri Waltz.” The governor has steadfastly refused to disclose how much a group of corporations and lobbyists contributed to help pay for his inaugural festivities.
On inauguration day in Jefferson City, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and first lady Sheena Greitens led off the inaugural ball by dancing to “Missouri Waltz.” The governor has steadfastly refused to disclose how much a group of corporations and lobbyists contributed to help pay for his inaugural festivities. kmyers@kcstar.com

A St. Louis-based company that received a no-bid contract with the state has disclosed that it gave $10,000 to help fund Gov. Eric Greitens’ inauguration.

Greitens’ administration recently gave the pharmacy benefit management company Express Scripts a $250,000 contract to help administer a prescription drug monitoring program, arguing that a competitive bidding process was not required.

The contract drew scrutiny because Express Scripts was listed among a group of corporations and lobbyists that paid for Greitens’ inaugural festivities. The governor has steadfastly refused to disclose how much he raised and spent for his inauguration or how much each corporation contributed.

Express Scripts had also declined to tell The Star how much it gave. But the donation was included in a list of political contributions the company disclosed on its website.

In addition to the no-bid contract for Express Scripts, Greitens this week appointed Julia Brncic, the company’s vice president and deputy general counsel, to the governing board of the University of Missouri System.

Greitens’ decision to hide how much he paid for his inaugural is a break from Missouri tradition. His predecessors — Republican Matt Blunt and Democrats Bob Holden and Jay Nixon — each provided details on how much they raised and from whom.

The only other detail on Greitens’ inaugural fundraising came earlier this year when the Osage Nation tribe in Oklahoma admitted to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that it contributed more than $50,000 to “establish a good relationship with the governor” in the hopes he’d look favorably on the tribe’s goal of building a casino in Missouri.

Express Scripts’ donation to the governor’s inauguration was the company’s largest contribution this year and the only one it has made in Missouri. Last year the company donated thousands of dollars to a bipartisan swath of Missouri candidates, including $25,000 to Greitens and $15,000 to his Democratic opponent, former Attorney General Chris Koster.

Asked about the state contract by The Star, a spokesman for the company said the state is looking into potential partners to “help it better detect and address overprescribing and overutilization of opioids. We have technology and data analytics capabilities that are relevant and that is why state officials reached out to us.”

The governor’s senior adviser, Austin Chambers, previously said accusations of impropriety involving the Express Scripts contract were “ridiculous.”

Jason Hancock: 573-634-3565, @J_Hancock

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