Previous coverage of Greitens investigations
The News Tribune has been following the investigations into Gov. Eric Greitens for months as they have developed. For a full look at coverage of the House committee's investigation, St. Louis case, Confide app lawsuit and other issues, click here.
Eric Greitens was a former Navy SEAL when he helped found The Mission Continues (TMC) in 2007 to help returning veterans find a purpose after their service — and during his 2016 campaign for governor, he often talked about the success stories the charity helped create.
Today, that charity is caught in the middle of legislative and criminal investigations focused on Greitens' role with The Mission Continues and accusations he took information from the charity to help with his political campaign.
Last week, when the Missouri House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight released its report about the governor and the charity, Chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said: "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."
For his part, Greitens has said the committee's work is a "witch hunt" and that its now three reports contain "lies and falsehoods" and are incomplete because they don't tell his side of the stories.
This story, based primarily on the committee's second major report, released Wednesday, generally follows the report's timeline and the statements made to it during closed-door meetings and interviews by people who have been connected with the charity or with Greitens' campaign.
The committee has used several court reporters to make a recording of those interviews, and has released transcripts of those interviews with each of its two major reports.
This story follows the creation and early operations of The Mission Continues, with special focus on the charity's donor list being transferred to the campaign and a Missouri Ethics Commission ruling about that transfer.
Timeline of Gov. Greitens' affair, criminal charge and the special House investigative committeeRead more
The Mission Continues timeline
Eric Greitens — a Parkway School District and Duke University graduate, Rhodes Scholar and former Navy SEAL — helped found a charity to help veterans returning home from their service, including deployments in combat areas like the war-torn Middle East.
It originally was called "The Center for Citizen Leadership," the House committee reported, adding the charity "grew slowly between 2007 to 2010, ending 2010 with $1.56 million in revenue."
Then in 2011, the committee noted, "TMC grew substantially, grossing total revenue of $7.01 million."
Jack Neyens, the charity's now-former chief financial officer, told the House committee: "People, donors, corporations, individuals, foundations migrate. They were attracted to him. They migrated to him as he spoke around the country."
But, Neyens and others reported, Greitens wasn't the only Mission Continues employee bringing donors and supporters to the charity, which had a "development team" responsible for growing the organization, as well.
Today, the organization says on its website, The Mission Continues "empowers veterans who are adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. We deploy veterans on new missions in their communities, so that their actions will inspire future generations to serve."
And, the organization notes: "Since our founding, we have always been a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to bringing together veterans and innovative community organizations to create transformational change for communities in need all across the country."
Greitens, who also is an author and public speaker, formed The Greitens Group (TGG), the House committee said, "for his personal for-profit business engagements, which included book writing, public speaking, and corporate training."
Jan. 1, 2011
Krystal Taylor (now Proctor) began working for Greitens, with her salary and expenses split between TGG and TMC. She worked under Greitens' direction throughout her employment.
She told the House committee the two organizations would work together to "maximize" Greitens' time, including the charity's creating events before and after the company would book a for-profit event for Greitens.
The House committee said it found "no evidence that TMC inappropriately paid Greitens' travel expenses for events that were not exclusively TMC events," nor did it find that The Mission Continues bought any of the future governor's books.
With Greitens as TMC's chief executive officer — paid a salary and reporting to a board of directors — the charity began hiring professional staff with experience in nonprofit management.
The Mission Continues entered into a memorandum of understanding with The Greitens Group, formalizing the cost-sharing arrangements between the organizations.
Nov. 27, 2012
The charity required Greitens to sign a non-disclosure agreement as an employee.
The House committee said that NDA included Greitens' agreement 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 The Mission Continues.
The agreement said Greitens "shall not at any time during (his) employment with TMC or at any time after termination or expiration of (his) employment with TMC disclose any Confidential Information to any third party, in whole or in part."
He also agreed "all intellectual property that is developed by (himself) during the time (he) is employed by TMC, and that is within the scope of (his) employment with TMC, is the property of TMC, including but not limited to copyrights and trade secrets." And the future governor agreed not to use the charity's intellectual property, including trade secrets "in any context outside of (his) employment" — unless he first "received the prior written consent" by email or letter from the charity.
The House committee reported Greitens received and signed in late 2012 the charity's "Team Member Handbook," which set expectations for employees and volunteers, including statements that "Team Members may not use our Systems 'to solicit Team Members or others unless on behalf of The Mission Continues'" and a warning: "Do not discuss the organization's confidential business or proprietary business matters, or share confidential, personal Team Member information with anyone who does not work for us such as friends, family members, members of the media, or other business entities."
Oct, 16, 2013
Greitens received an email from Steve Michael, a political consultant, suggesting Greitens is considering a political venture. He took a sabbatical from The Mission Continues from late 2013 to spring 2014.
Dec. 1, 2014
Greitens hired Danny Laub to run the campaign.
Laub prepared a memo for Greitens about gubernatorial campaign strategy.
April 24, 2014
Greitens informed the charity he would transition from CEO to board member in the summer, and the charity asked him to "assure donors that the transition to new leadership would go smoothly and the organization was on strong footing with a good plan for the future."
Special session and possible impeachmentRead more
The donor and email lists
Last month, using information provided by Attorney General Josh Hawley's office, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner charged Greitens with tampering with a computer, by taking donor and email lists from The Mission Continues without the charity's permission.
Because more than $500 was raised from the use of those lists, the charge is a Class D felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of up to four years — if there's a conviction and a judge orders prison time.
The House committee report notes: "News reports from the fall of 2016 indicate that cross-referencing the names on the TMC list with Greitens campaign donors reveals that the campaign raised nearly $2 million from persons or organizations on the TMC list."
No trial date has been set for the case.
Currently, the circuit attorney's office and Greitens' lawyers are preparing for the governor's May 14 trial on a different felony charge — invasion of privacy — involving allegations the then-future governor bound and blindfolded his now-former mistress and took a picture of her without her permission, while she was at least partially nude, in a manner that the picture could have been shared with a computer.
The governor has admitted to having an affair and has denied doing anything of a criminal nature.
When the charge of improperly using the donor and email list was filed, St. Louis lawyer Ed Dowd — one of the governor's attorneys — called it "absurd," adding: "Now he's being accused of stealing an email list from an organization he built? Give me a break. Not only did he create this list donor by donor, friend by friend, but (the charity) still has the list."
Here's how the House committee reported the information supporting the criminal charge:
May 8, 2014
TMC employee Lori Stevens gave Greitens and three others a current list of people who had donated at least $1,000 to the charity, along with instructions for informing donors of the coming transition.
No one from the charity told the House committee that Greitens had permission to use the list for a future political campaign.
President Spencer Kympton said the non-disclosure agreements allowed for "no exceptions" to a policy of using the donor lists only for The Mission Continues business.
"I have not seen any evidence that there was any authorization to Mr. Greitens, either in the context of his role as CEO or after, to suggest any authorization to use it for political purposes," Kympton told the House committee.
He characterized Greitens' reported use of the donor and email lists as "a misuse" of those lists, "as far as The Mission Continues is concerned."
Oct. 20, 2014
Greitens had a meeting that included "all of the donor lists that we've collected so far" — including a Mission Continues list.
Greitens hired Michael Hafner to work on the campaign.
But the "Greitens for Missouri" campaign didn't, officially, exist yet.
The committee noted Greitens paid Laub's and Hafner's salaries, and after it was organized, the Greitens for Missouri campaign didn't report either man's pay as "in-kind" contributions from The Greitens Group.
Proctor shared a TMC donor list with Hafner and Laub, at Greitens' request — after he had left The Mission Continues.
The list contained the "names, phone numbers, email addresses, donations and other details of every individual, company, or non-profit that had donated $1,000 or more to" the charity, the House panel reported.
Proctor told the House committee "there was no confusion" that they were going to use the list to support "the political campaign" and "political fundraising" — and that Greitens "viewed the TMC list as his own list of friends, family, and supporters that he had built up with his own labor and endeavors from the beginning of the organization," even though "other people also put labor into cultivation of the list."
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."
Kympton also told the committee: "This list is a list of more than 500 donors, supporters, partners of The Mission Continues who had given collectively, or over time, $1,000 or above to The Mission Continues. Within this list might be, you know, friends or family of Eric Greitens that have transitioned into being supporters of The Mission Continues, but I would very much characterize this list as a list of supporters and partners of The Mission Continues that came from a variety of different pathways to that relationship."
Hafner told the committee he sent Greitens lists of people to call, including names from the TMC list.
Feb. 25, 2015
Greitens created the Greitens for Missouri campaign committee and registered it with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
April 22, 2015
Proctor provided another copy of the charity's list to campaign officials at Greitens' direction.
Greitens stepped down from The Mission Continues board of directors to launch his campaign for governor.
TMC President Kympton exchanged emails with Austin Chambers, Greitens' campaign manager, explaining concerns about a "Greitens advertisement and fundraising campaign" that Kympton feared "jeopardized (the charity's) status" as a tax-exempt, federal 501(c)(3) organization.
Kympton told Chambers he particularly was concerned with a link that "explicitly aligned (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."
Aug. 18, 2016
Chambers responded: "Our goal from the beginning has always been to protect The Mission Continues, and keep it separate from the campaign. As you know, Eric cares deeply about protecting the brand and image of TMC."
Greitens' attorney Mike Adams agreed, telling Kympton the campaign "would do nothing to jeopardize (TMC's) tax-exempt status."
Adams also discussed the IRS guidance that an organization would jeopardize its 501(c)(3) status by "allowing a candidate to use an organization's assets if other candidates are not given an equivalent opportunity."
Adams and the Greitens campaign agreed to stop using a photo taken at TMC offices but, the House committee report noted, they "failed to notify TMC that the campaign was using the TMC donor list for political fundraising."
Less than a month before the Nov. 8 general election where Greitens beat Democrat Chris Koster by 156,037 votes to win the governor's office, The Associated Press published stories raising questions about the Greitens campaign's use of The Mission Continues email and donor lists.
The Ethics Commission complaint
After the election, someone filed a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission against Greitens and his campaign, saying they failed to report the charity's list as an in-kind donation to the campaign.
April 28, 2017
Greitens signed a Joint Stipulation of Facts, Waiver of Hearing and Consent Order with Joint Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law with the Ethics Commission.
In that 10-page document (available at mec.mo.gov/Scanned/CasedocsPDF/CMTS1146.pdf), Greitens admitted to his campaign receiving "the benefit of a list of prospective donors, for which the Committee did not pay (and) at least one employee or agent of the Committee used the List to contact potential donors."
The commission imposed a $1,000 fine and allowed Greitens to pay $100, or 10 percent, with the provision that the other $900 would be due if either Greitens or his committee "commits any further violation or violations of the (state's campaign finance laws) within a two-year period."
The same day, Greitens' campaign committee amended its April 2015 report to show it had received an "in-kind contribution" valued at $600 from Daniel Laub.
Laub declined to appear before the House committee but was deposed by staff from the Missouri attorney general's office April 18, 2018.
Hawley's office was able to share that information with the committee after the House obtained an order from the Cole County Circuit Court.
In his deposition, Laub told the attorney general that Chambers had called him on April 24, 2017, and had told Laub: "I don't know if you know this, but there's a bull---- ethics complaint filed against us by the Democrat party about this Mission Continues donor list. I need someone who was on the campaign at the time, because I wasn't, to put their name down so we can get this bull---- complaint dismissed."
Laub said Chambers told him the campaign would pay the Ethics Commission's fine, "but we need to put someone's name down who was on the campaign at the time."
Laub agreed to let Chambers use his name.
But, Laub told the attorney general's office, he had "assumed (that) meant that (he) was the manager of the campaign at the time, or in charge of the campaign at the time" and, when he learned a week later that he was listed as contributing the lists to the campaign, he said he had been "affirmatively misled" by Chambers.
He said had he not been misled, he would not have allowed his name to be used on the Ethics filing "because that's untrue."
Laub also told the attorney general's office that Greitens' amended campaign finance report regarding the The Mission Continues list as an in-kind contribution was "false in every particular."
Last week, Catherine Hanaway — a former House speaker and former U.S. attorney now representing the Greitens campaign — said the House committee's report "that The Mission Continues list was used for campaign purposes (was) considered and resolved a year ago by the (Ethics Commission) with a $100 fine, less than most speeding tickets."
On April 27, 2018, the Kansas City Star reported the attorney general's office had given Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson "evidence accusing Gov. Eric Greitens of knowingly filing false campaign finance disclosure reports to the Missouri Ethics Commission, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation."
The paper said filing a false campaign disclosure report would be a Class A misdemeanor under Missouri law, with a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
The attorney general's office told the News Tribune it could not comment on any information it might have given any prosecutor.
Richardson has not commented on the Star's report nor answered News Tribune questions about it.