The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens filed a petition in court Thursday seeking to compel the governor’s campaign and nonprofit to turn over records.
The petition, which was filed in Cole County, states that part of the committee’s investigative mission is to determine whether Greitens has “been involved in utilizing other organizations such as Greitens For Missouri and A New Missouri Inc. to circumvent Missouri’s campaign finance disclosure laws.”
Both the campaign and A New Missouri, a nonprofit founded by Greitens' political team, refused to share the documents requested by the committee. Rep. Jay Barnes, the Jefferson City Republican who leads the committee, declined to comment on the matter.
The filing points to testimony the committee heard from former Greitens’ campaign staffers about directives to speak with individuals who were seeking to obscure the identity of campaign donors and evidence “that Greitens engaged in a scheme to conceal donors by channeling contributions through shell LLCs” in the form of a memo that details $30,000 in campaign donations that were allegedly concealed in December 2015.
The committee asked the campaign for all employment records since Feb. 24, 2015, all communications with donors and potential donors, all communications with A New Missouri and all communications related to The Mission Continues donor list at the center of the investigation.
The attorney for Greitens’ campaign, his former Republican rival Catherine Hanaway, said in a statement that the campaign “can’t wait to stand in front of a judge and explain that in just seven days we produced more than 14,000 responsive documents, we are producing almost 6,000 documents today and the House still isn’t satisfied. We can’t wait to have a Judge determine whether the House committee has the legal authority to go on a wild fishing expedition.”
The petition from the House says it has authority through its jurisdiction over the impeachment process.
The filing notes that A New Missouri was formed “for the express purpose of promoting the governor’s political agenda."
An example in the filing is A New Missouri's support of right to work, a policy in which workers cannot be forced to join a labor union. A New Missouri has made five contributions adding up to $2 million to two campaign committees that advocate for right to work in Missouri, which Greitens supports.
The House committee filing refers to a May 10 opinion by the Missouri Ethics Commission, which said nonprofits that receive more than $500 in contributions in a year for political influence must register as a committee and file finance reports with the commission. Missouri campaign finance laws forbid making donations to a campaign committee with the intention of hiding the source of the contribution.
"Despite these activities, A New Missouri, Inc. conceals the identity of its donors and does not make reports and disclosures to the Missouri Ethics Commission," the House committee's filing says.
In a response to the subpoenas, Hanaway wrote that donors have a First Amendment interest in keeping their identities secret.
"As a 501(c)4 organization, A New Missouri has no duty to disclose its donors to the public," Hanaway's May 9 letter to the House committee's attorneys says. "Donors expect that their contributions will not be identified publicly or be provided to the government."
Even so, the House committee's filing said that A New Missouri was formed to promote Greitens' agenda and is run by his key associates.
“Unquestionably, there exists a reasonable basis for The Committee to investigate the relationship between Eric R. Greitens, Greitens For Missouri and A New Missouri, Inc. as part of its investigation of Eric R. Greitens,” the filing states.
Greitens political adviser Austin Chambers could not reached for comment about the subpoenas to A New Missouri.
The Star's Jason Hancock contributed to this report.