JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – News that Republican Gov. Eric Greitens had been charged with a felony for the second time this year dominated headlines Friday night and the question of how things move forward from this point on is still up in the air.
The same evidence used by St. Louis City Prosecutor Kim Gardner’s office, provided by Attorney General Josh Hawley, was also given to the House special investigative committee, which could release another report concerning the allegations against Greitens and subsequently file articles of impeachment in the Missouri House of Representatives.
The Mission Continues donor list has continued to plague Greitens throughout his first two years in office.
In August 2007, Greitens founded The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization providing grants for veterans to work temporarily.
The list in question, an Excel spreadsheet labeled “All donors $1K total and up — as of 5-7-14”, was created by an employee of The Mission Continues, detailing names, email addresses and phone numbers of donors who gave at least $1,000 to the organization. The list was a created on May 6, 2014, shortly before Greitens left The Mission Continues in July.
Greitens created an exploratory committee and began raising money for his campaign in February 2015.
The list was last saved, according to the Associated Press, on March 24, 2015, by Michael Hafner, who had been working for Greitens’ exploratory committee.
After Greitens won a four-way primary in August 2016, it was reported in October that of the $500,000+ raised by Greitens during an initial two-month period in 2015, roughly 85 percent came from donors who had previously given to The Mission Continues.
On the campaign trail, Greitens had denied using the charity’s donor database and said that he had fired Hafner for his ties to political consultants who worked for his Republican gubernatorial rival, John Brunner. Hafner later went to work for Brunner’s campaign.
In November 2016, Greitens defeated Democratic candidate Chris Koster to become the next governor.
From there, one follows the timeline to the complaint filed by former Missouri Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple, alleging that Greitens and his campaign had failed to disclose using the donor list. The subsequent investigation by the Missouri Ethics Commission in April 2017 found Gov. Greitens guilty, and he and his committee were fined $1,000.
Greitens’ campaign amended its finance reports to show the donor list as a $600 in-kind contribution received March 1, 2015, from Danny Laub, who was listed as Greitens’ campaign manager at the time.
Then, on the night of his second inaugural state of the state address, news broke that Greitens had an extramarital affair, with allegations of blackmail being made.
That led to an investigation of the situation by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner in January 2018.
One month later, a St. Louis grand jury indicts Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy, which he denies any criminal wrongdoing.
On Feb. 27, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the obtaining of an email showing that a Greitens Group employee had sent the donor list to Laub and Hafner in January 2015.
On March 1, The Associated Press reports that Greitens had used an email address for The Mission Continues to arrange political meetings as he prepared for the launch of his campaign.
Attorney General Josh Hawley also confirms that his office is investigating the charity. The Mission Continues then issues a statement seeking to distance the organization from Greitens, saying they will support the attorney general’s inquiry into “the misuse of our resources by the Greitens campaign.”
On April 17, Hawley holds a press conference stating that his office had found evidence suggesting criminal wrongdoing by Greitens in relation to the donor list. His office turned the office over to Gardner and the special House committee.
And on April 20, Gardner files a second felony charge against Greitens for tampering with computer data, using the evidence provided by Hawley’s office.
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.