Government & Politics

Judge orders Greitens’ secretive nonprofit to turn over documents to House committee

Gov. Eric Greitens' nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc., has been ordered to turn over documents to a House committee by Friday.
Gov. Eric Greitens' nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc., has been ordered to turn over documents to a House committee by Friday.

Gov. Eric Greitens’ political nonprofit has until Friday to turn over documents to the Missouri House committee investigating allegations of misconduct against the governor as a precursor to possible impeachment.

Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem issued a ruling Tuesday ordering the organization, A New Missouri Inc., to turn over communications and documents showing potential coordination among the nonprofit, the governor and the governor's campaign committee, as well as expenditures related to advertising.

The House committee issued subpoenas to the nonprofit and campaign seeking documents lawmakers believe might demonstrate efforts to illegally circumvent the state's campaign disclosure laws. Greitens' attorneys objected, and the House filed a lawsuit seeking an order from Beetem enforcing the subpoenas.

Catherine Hanaway, a former House speaker representing A New Missouri and Greitens’ campaign, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Beetem's Tuesday decision.

A New Missouri was created in February 2017 by Greitens’ closest political advisers. It is housed in the same building as his campaign committee, and the two share some staff. The building was purchased shortly before the creation of A New Missouri by one of Greitens’ biggest campaign donors.

In laying out the case for why the subpoenas should be enforced, the House committee pointed to testimony of a former Greitens campaign staff member, Michael Hafner, who told lawmakers that in late 2014 and early 2015, the governor's campaign was discussing a strategy to conceal the identity of its donors.

Mark Kempton, a former Pettis County prosecutor hired to serve as special counsel for a House committee, also noted accusations that Greitens' campaign used shell companies to funnel money into its coffers to hide the original source of the money.

It's an accusation that has dogged Greitens throughout his short political career. During the 2016 campaign, his campaign benefited from $6 million worth of "dark money" contributions that were routed through nonprofits and into federal political action committees, hiding where the money actually came from.

Eric Greitens' political career is intertwined with the rise of "dark money" in Missouri. This video was originally published May 24, 2017.

More recently, A New Missouri has been accused of being a conduit for money to fight off a union-backed effort to repeal Missouri's right-to-work law. The nonprofit donated $1.2 million to a PAC that failed at its task of putting a pro-right-to-work initiative petition on the ballot this year.

Most of the PAC's money went to political allies of the governor.

The committee initially demanded that Illinois-based Carrollton Bank provide all records relating to A New Missouri.

Carrollton Bank is a family-owned, privately held bank with locations in Missouri and Illinois. Mark Bobak, a close adviser to the governor, is a board member of both the bank and its holding company, CBX Corp.

When Greitens and his wife bought a lake house in Innsbrook last year, Carollton Bank issued the $675,000 mortgage. Public documents show that J&J Escape, Greitens' limited liability company, purchased the $750,000 house on Feb. 17, 2017.

The House committee dropped its demands for those records, telling Beetem that it narrowed its request because the special session to consider impeachment must be completed by June 17.