House report: Greitens lied about donor list

Campaign did not have permission to use charity's list for political race, misled ethics panel

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens listens to a question during an interview in his office at the Missouri Capitol Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens listens to a question during an interview in his office at the Missouri Capitol Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Jefferson City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Previous coverage of Greitens investigations


Full report on House website


Gov. Eric Greitens violated a nondisclosure agreement he signed with The Mission Continues charity in November 2012 when he used the charity's email and donor lists for his 2016 governor's race, and he either misled or lied to the Missouri Ethics Commission a year ago when he signed a consent decree, according to a new 22-page report from a special House committee released Wednesday.

The report, released by the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, said Danny Laub, Greitens' first campaign manager, told the Missouri attorney general's office last month that the governor's April 2017 stipulation of facts with the Ethics Commission - that using the charity's list was an in-kind contribution to the campaign - was "false in every particular."

Committee Chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said in a statement: "The report shows the governor took advantage of a charity that works hard to take care of our veterans. The committee found that the Mission Continues was the true owner of the fundraising list and its property was taken without permission and used inappropriately for political gain."

Citing news reports from the fall of 2016 - when The Associated Press first reported on the Greitens campaign's issues with the charity - the new House report said that "cross-referencing the names on the (charity's) list with Greitens campaign donors reveals that the campaign raised nearly $2 million from persons or organizations on the TMC list."

But Greitens, in a post on his Facebook page, released a statement from former House Speaker and former primary opponent Catherine Hanaway, a lawyer who now is representing his campaign.

"Even though the report alleges that a false campaign report was filed, (Barnes) did not allow the campaign an opportunity to be heard," Hanaway said. "He never asked the campaign to testify before his committee, nor did he request that the campaign provide any documents to his Committee. He did not issue any subpoenas on this matter to the campaign. And he certainly did not allow the campaign to be represented by counsel in its hearings nor to cross-examine any witnesses making accusations against it. He did not allow the campaign to confront its accusers or respond to accusations. If a witness made an allegation, it was accepted as true and republished."

The committee reported Greitens' agreement with the Ethics Commission identified the lists as a March 1, 2015, in-kind contribution from Danny Laub with a value of $600.

But, the panel reported, "Laub was never an employee of TMC, and thus, was not able to authorize disclosure or use of the list. Instead, it was contributed by Greitens himself, through his directions to (Krystal Taylor) Proctor," a former Greitens executive assistant.

In addition, the report says, "The list was not donated to the campaign on March 1. Instead, its first use that Laub could remember was in December 2015, and the email records show its disclosure and use on January 6 and January 7, (2016)."

Shortly after the report's release, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said: "Eric Greitens stole from a charity for veterans and committed this theft to further his political career. The man is without honor, without scruples and is utterly lacking in the moral authority necessary to effectively govern. As has been clear for weeks, he has only two choices - resign or face impeachment."

The House committee has been charged with making a recommendation for or against impeachment but has not done so yet.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner last month charged Greitens with tampering with a computer for taking the lists without the charity's permission, after receiving information from Attorney General Josh Hawley's office.

No trial date has been set on that felony charge - and the governor has said the charge is false.

Greitens also faces a May 14 trial on a separate felony charge of invading the privacy of a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair when he took her picture, without her permission, while she was at least partially nude in the basement of his St. Louis home.

The House committee's study of that case was included in a 24-page report issued April 11.

Like the first report, the committee's new report was signed by all seven committee members.

The report makes no independent finding about Greitens' relationship with The Mission Continues or his use of the charity's lists, but includes a note that "its work is not complete with this report, and that, in addition to other actions, subsequent reports may be issued."

But, the committee reported, it received "more than 100,000 documents from The Mission Continues in response to its requests."

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, said: "We have remained committed to the process of meticulously gathering the facts of all of the governor's actions, not rushing to judgement, and letting those facts speak for themselves. The committee's second report is another step in the process of that thorough review."

In that non-disclosure agreement, the report says, "Greitens agreed to hold in strict confidence 'the identities of any donors or investors, and any personal information of donors or investors, and any contact information for donors or investors,' as well as any 'lists, databases trade or business secrets, and similar or dissimilar information relating to the operations or activities of TMC.'"

At the time, Greitens was chief executive officer of the veterans service charity he helped found in 2007.

Greitens created a separate entity, The Greitens Group, in 2009, for his personal for-profit business engagements, which included book writing, public speaking and corporate training.

The House committee said the two organizations often coordinated information and scheduling, such as the charity seeking to raise funds before and after Greitens held a for-profit event.

In March 2014, the report says, Greitens decided to run for the job of Missouri governor and, the following month, decided to "transition from CEO to Board Member of TMC in the summer of 2014."

He then was given a list of top donors to the charity so he could let them know of the coming change in the charity's administration.

Several people who worked with the then-future governor at The Mission Continues told the House committee, during separate meetings, that they did not believe anyone from the charity had approved Greitens' using the list for political purposes or for any purpose other than his making calls about the transition.

The committee reported it interviewed:

Michael Hafner, a former Greitens campaign worker, on March 14.

Krystal Taylor Proctor, former executive assistant to Greitens when he worked for The Greitens Group and The Mission Continues, on March 27.

Spencer Kympton, president of The Mission Continues, on March 29.

Lyndsey Hodges Reichardt, a former Mission Continues employee, on April 2.

Jack Neyens, the charity's former chief financial officer, on April 4.

Laub, who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, declined to be interviewed by the committee. But, using a Cole County Circuit Court order allowing the committee to share information with the attorney general's office, the committee used Laub's deposition taken by the AG's office.

Kympton told the committee: "The Mission Continues did not provide nor authorize any use of our donors' information to the Greitens campaign or any persons or groups for political or campaign purposes. Any use of The Mission Continues resources for any political or other unauthorized purpose would violate our policies and the trust we expect from each member of our staff."

In August 2016, Kympton had questioned Austin Chambers, Greitens' campaign manager, about concerns that a link that "explicitly align[ed] (the charity's) trademarked name with a political campaign effort" and with a website video titled "Eric Greitens: The Mission Continues" which was on a fundraising page.

Chambers said changes were made to protect the charity.

And, the committee report noted, Mike Adams, an attorney for Greitens' campaign, told the charity: "Obviously, the Campaign wishes The Mission Continues nothing but the greatest success in its worthy cause and would do nothing to jeopardize its tax-exempt status."

The report said Adams reminded the charity that it would "jeopardize its 501(c)(3) status" with the IRS if it allowed "a candidate to use an organization's assets (and) if other candidates are not given an equivalent opportunity."

But the report says the Greitens campaign "failed to notify TMC that the campaign was using the TMC donor list for political fundraising."

Hanaway's statement said the charge of using the list for the campaign was "considered and resolved a year ago by the MEC with a $100 fine, less than most speeding tickets. This is, at its core, a minor campaign finance issue."

Greitens' consent decree with the Ethics Commission included a promise not to violate other campaign laws for two years, in exchange for the commission's waiving $900 of its $1,000 fine.

Hanaway added: "If Chairman Barnes were on a quest to find out the truth, he has unfinished business to conduct. He ought to ask the campaign for its version of events before acting as judge and jury in a matter that was settled long ago."

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