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story.lead_photo.caption Attorney Elad Gross in an Aug. 30, 2018, court appearance in Jefferson City Circuit Court. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Elad Gross said Monday he'll appeal last week's ruling by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem, dismissing Gross' lawsuit against "A New Missouri," the not-for-profit organization founded last year to support then-Gov. Eric Greitens and his initiatives.

Gross, a St. Louis lawyer who once worked as an assistant attorney general under Chris Koster, also announced Monday that he's running for the attorney general's job in the 2020 elections.

"We need an attorney general who's willing to protect the rights of all Missourians, not the money of the powerful," he said in an email.

He did not indicate which party he would be running in, although he told reporters after a court hearing this fall he most likely would be a Democrat if he ever sought political office.

Gross' campaign announcement came one day before Gov. Mike Parson said he'll announce who will replace current Attorney General Josh Hawley, when Hawley resigns to become Missouri's next U.S. senator.

Gross said his campaign's "focus is on ending dark money in Missouri, prosecuting corruption, and reforming Missouri's ethics laws. If legislators won't change campaign finance laws, the people of Missouri will put the issue on the ballot again."

As a federal 501(c)(4) organization, A New Missouri operates under regulations that allow it to conceal the identities of its donors — what some people, including Gross, call "dark money."

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Gross noted in his news release that he began investigating A New Missouri last year, after the organization published attack ads against state Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, that included Schaaf's personal cell phone number.

In June, Gross asked the organization to produce records under Missouri's Nonprofit Corporations Act — then filed his lawsuit after a month of sending requests to the organization and asking Attorney General Josh Hawley's office to investigate, with no responses from either organization.

A week ago, Beetem granted A New Missouri's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, ruling Gross didn't have the legal standing to sue.

Gross had argued unsuccessfully that A New Missouri was created to benefit all Missourians and, therefore, "I am a beneficiary of the organization" entitled under the law to get information about the organization's operations, income and expenses.

Gross has launched a website, Elad4MO.org, and expects to have his Ethics Commission paperwork filed "this week or early next."

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