Emails obtained by The Star show former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' top campaign fundraiser working to set up a meeting in February 2017 between a government official and one of the state's most prolific donors, all while seeking a contribution to Greitens' dark-money nonprofit.
The emails appear to be evidence of coordination between the governor's office, his campaign and A New Missouri Inc., said Rep. Gina Mitten, a St. Louis County Democrat who served on a House committee that investigated Greitens as a precursor to impeachment. The committee's work ended after Greitens' June 1 resignation.
Mitten said that the House committee also obtained the emails and others just like them and that they helped convince the committees' leadership that A New Missouri was solely designed to illegally skirt donation limits and conceal the identities of major donors, an allegation the nonprofit's attorney vehemently denies.
“This is the kind of email that prompted the committee to pursue a subpoena for A New Missouri,” Mitten told The Star Tuesday afternoon.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
The committee quickly dropped its subpoena after Greitens resigned.
The Feb. 3, 2017, email obtained by The Star consists of a conversation between Meredith Gibbons, Greitens’ campaign finance director, and Jeanne Sinquefield, who along with her husband, Rex Sinquefield, have donated tens of millions of dollars in recent years to various candidates and causes.
Jeanne Sinquefield emailed Gibbons on Feb. 3, 2017, to say she had “enjoyed meeting with you and the governor and his staff.” She was happy that Greitens was already implementing a recommendation made by a commission she served on regarding appointments to the university’s board of curators being based on occupational diversity, in addition to race and gender.
She also asked Gibbons to arrange a meeting in regards to the governor’s 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which would be formally established two days later.
Gibbons thanked Sinquefield for “making the time to meet with the governor and our team,” noting that Greitens had “enjoyed hearing your perspective.”
She said that she had contacted the governor’s COO, Drew Erdmann, and that he would reach out personally to set up a meeting with Sinquefield.
Erdmann had been announced as COO a month before but wasn't officially on the job for another week.
Gibbons then wrote: “For the c4 donation, myself and Austin Chambers are your best point of contact.”
Chambers was Greitens' senior political adviser.
Neither Gibbons, Chambers nor anyone representing the campaign, the nonprofit or the former governor responded to a request for comment.
A spokesman for Sinquefield said neither she nor her husband ever donated anything to A New Missouri.
Two days after the 2017 email exchange between Gibbons and Sinquefield, Greitens' campaign treasurer and campaign attorney filed paperwork with the Missouri secretary of state’s office to create A New Missouri Inc.
It was housed in a downtown Jefferson City building purchased by one of Greitens' biggest donors shortly before A New Missouri was created. Because it's a nonprofit, it is not required to disclose its donors or abide by the state's campaign contribution limits.
Gibbons worked as fundraiser for both the former governor's campaign committee and his nonprofit.
Hours before Greitens announced his resignation, a Cole County judge ordered A New Missouri to comply with the House subpoena seeking documents.
Greitens' resignation became official June 1. Because he was no longer in office, the House abandoned efforts to enforce its subpoena and shut down its investigation.
The investigative committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Jay Barnes of Jefferson City, declined comment on Tuesday, although he reiterated that he plans to file a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission against Greitens’ campaign and A New Missouri.