Government & Politics

Missouri lawmakers continue Greitens investigation, target use of ‘shell companies’

Gov. Eric Greitens faces accusations that his campaign used shell companies to hide donor identities.
Gov. Eric Greitens faces accusations that his campaign used shell companies to hide donor identities. file photo

A day after a felony invasion of privacy charge against Gov. Eric Greitens was dropped, the House committee investigating him targeted allegations that shell companies were used to funnel money to the governor's 2016 campaign to hide donor identities.

Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, is chairman of the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, which has been investigating allegations of wrongdoing against Greitens since early March. He said Tuesday that the committee had obtained a 2016 email from Will Scharf, who now works as Greitens' policy director but at the time worked for a rival gubernatorial campaign, titled "Greitens Uses Shell Companies to Hide Donors."

Scharf's email noted the existence of two LLCs — White Impala and ELX83 — that were formed in December 2015.

The companies combined to donate $60,000 to Greitens' campaign.

Internet searches reveal absolutely no information about ELX83 or White Impala, Scharf noted. The only records of their existence are the filings with the secretary of state creating the companies and the reports of their contributions to the Greitens campaign filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Scharf's email notes that Missouri law explicitly prohibits campaign contributions made “in such a manner as to conceal the identity of the actual source of the contribution.” When he sent the email, Scharf was working for Catherine Hanaway, who is now acting as attorney for the governor's campaign staff.

He sent the email to Michael Hafner, who had previously worked for Greitens but at the time was working for another GOP gubernatorial hopeful, John Brunner.

"Wow," Hafner replied to Scharf's email. "Are you doing anything with this?"

Scharf replied that he had "sent it to a couple people. Someone should file an MEC complaint."

The House committee wants Scharf to testify about the companies and his email.

The registered agent for White Impala LLC is a St. Louis attorney named Michael Becker. He also serves as registered agent for two companies founded by Jeff Stuerman, Greitens' campaign treasurer.

Another St. Louis attorney, Brian Bouquet, is listed as the agent for ELX83.

Neither Becker nor Bouquet could be reached for comment.

Hanaway said in an email to The Star that her 2016 campaign and "almost certainly every campaign for governor received contributions from LLC’s. It was perfectly legal for all campaigns to receive contributions from LLCs."

At the time Scharf sent the email, Hanaway said, "he was working for my campaign and searching for any issue we could use to win. He did not find nor has anyone else found that the owners of these LLC’s were prohibited from contributing to Missouri campaigns."

Barnes announced Monday that he had issued subpoenas to the governor's campaign and his nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc., as well as to the governor's senior political adviser, Austin Chambers.

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