Government & Politics

Source: AG gave Cole County prosecutor evidence alleging new crime by Greitens

The Missouri attorney general’s office has turned over evidence to the Cole County prosecutor accusing Gov. Eric Greitens of knowingly filing false campaign finance disclosure reports to the Missouri Ethics Commission, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Filing a false campaign disclosure report would be a Class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail.

The allegations of criminal wrongdoing center on a consent decree Greitens signed last April to settle a complaint filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission. In that consent decree, Greitens admitted that his campaign had failed to disclose it had obtained a donor list belonging to The Mission Continues, a veterans charity Greitens founded in 2007.

Greitens’ campaign paid a $100 fine and agreed to amend its campaign filings to show it received the donor list as an in-kind contribution from former campaign manager Danny Laub in March 2015.

Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office has been investigating the circumstances surrounding Greitens’ use of the donor list since late February. Last week, evidence collected by Hawley’s office led the St. Louis prosecutor to charge Greitens with one felony count of computer tampering for allegedly taking the list without the charity’s permission.

According to the source, last Friday Hawley turned over evidence to Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson that the attorney general's office believes proves that Laub did not give the campaign The Mission Continues' donor list, the campaign did not receive it in March 2015 and that Greitens knew his campaign was filing false reports to the ethics commission.

Hawley's office confirmed that it took a deposition from Laub last week.

Senior officials from Hawley’s office met with Richardson on Monday to walk through the evidence and have spoken with the prosecutor’s office several times this week.

Richardson’s office has criminal jurisdiction in the case, and it would be his decision as to whether to file charges. He did not respond to a request for comment Friday morning.

The evidence collected by the attorney general’s office has also been turned over to a House committee that has been investigating allegations of misconduct by Greitens.

Greitens’ campaign attorney, Michael Adams, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mary Compton, press secretary for the attorney general's office, said in a statement that "the Attorney General's Office continues its investigation and continues to refer evidence when appropriate to the House Investigative Committee and the relevant prosecutors with jurisdiction."

The attorney general launched his investigation of Greitens in February after a report by The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that appeared to contradict the governor’s explanation of how and when his campaign acquired The Mission Continues donor list.

Emails the paper obtained show Greitens’ former assistant sent the donor list to Laub and another campaign staffer in January 2015, two months earlier than what the governor claimed in the consent decree and in his amended campaign disclosure reports.

The new allegations of misconduct are the latest example of the fraying relationship between Greitens and Hawley, two of the state’s top elected Republican officials.

On Thursday, Greitens' attorneys asked a Cole County judge to bar Hawley from investigating the governor, saying the attorney general can no longer be impartial after calling for Greitens to resign earlier this month.

Hawley has insisted his calls for resignation were focused on a report by the House investigatory committee that accused Greitens of sexual coercion and physical violence against a woman he had an affair with in 2015. Hawley contends they had nothing to do with his investigation of Greitens' use of the donor list.

Cole County Circuit Court Judge Jon Beetem refused to bar Hawley from investigating the governor on Friday, denying Greitens' motion for a temporary restraining order.