JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Former House Speaker and gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway has made one of her first substantial attacks of the campaign season against former Navy SEAL and Republican primary opponent Eric Greitens.
Hanaway is calling for Greitens to return $1 million in donations and disassociate himself from Michael Goguen, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who has recently become embroiled in a possible sex slavery scandal.
“I call on Mr. Greitens to cut all ties to Mr. Goguen and to send back his campaign contributions, now,” Hanaway said in a statement. “If he does not, serious questions must be raised about Mr. Greitens’s judgment and whom he surrounds himself with.”
The allegations facing the billionaire have forced him out of his investment firm, Sequoia Capital, and the details have been described by the Washington Post as “almost too strange to be true.”
Goguen has admitted that he had an extramarital relationship with a woman contingent on a $40 million contract, of which only $10 million has currently been paid. While Goguen has stated the sex acts were consensual, the paramour, Amber Baptiste, has alleged that the sex acts performed became “increasingly demeaning,” and the Washington Post also states that “Baptiste also was required to grovel and refer to Goguen as a king and emperor.”
We understand the allegations about Michael Goguen are unproven and unrelated to Sequoia. Still, we decided his departure was appropriate.
— Sequoia Capital (@sequoia) March 12, 2016
Goguen has definitely donated $1 million to the Greitens campaign, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission: two donations of $500,000 in 2015, one on Sept. 3 and another on Dec. 31. That figure currently means Goguen is the single largest contributor to the Greitens campaign as of the January quarterly reports. Venture capital from out of state has also been a large factor of Greitens’ vast war chest, which has far outpaced his Republican counterparts and has even rivaled the uncontested Democratic candidate Attorney General Chris Koster.
Austin Chambers, a spokesman for the Greitens campaign, said the campaign would be investigating the allegations against Goguen and took the opportunity to fire back at Hanaway.
“There are serious accusations being thrown around on both sides of this civil case,” Chambers said. We must allow the legal process to run its course and sort out the facts. As a federal prosecutor, we assumed Catherine Hanaway believed folks were innocent until proven guilty. Guess not. That’s a shame. Eric has fought on the frontlines for our rights, and while we aren’t surprised career politicians are willing to trample on them, it is disappointing nevertheless.”
UPDATED 12:23 p.m., March 15, 2016: Added comments from Chambers