Cole County Prosecutor declines to file charges against Greitens, again

   

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — For the second time, Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson has declined to file charges against former Gov. Eric Greitens for his campaign’s use of a donor list from a veterans charity. This recommendation came from the Missouri Ethics Commission.

In a letter posted to their website on August 17, 2018, Executive Director Elizabeth Ziegler wrote the commission has no statutory authority to take any further action despite finding “reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of criminal law had occurred.”

A complaint filed in March 2018 by former Missouri Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple alleged the Greitens knowingly filed false campaign finance disclosure reports to the MEC.

The allegations center around an amended report showing that Daniel Laub had provided the campaign with a donor list from The Mission Continues, a veterans charity Greitens founded, as an “in-kind” contribution.

The amended report came after the Greitens’ campaign paid a $100 fine for failing to disclose that is had obtained the list.

Laub testified under oath to the Attorney General’s Office that the amended report inaccurately described how the campaign acquired the list. He claimed he didn’t give the campaign the list and that the campaign didn’t receive it on the date specified in the report.

The Mission Continues has maintained that it gave no permission for the list to be used beyond its own use, a claim supported by findings from the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight.

In April, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley asked Richardson to file criminal charges against Greitens for the list. Richardson, who recently lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary, declined.

After the MEC conducted its own investigation, “the Commission found reasonable grounds to believe that a violation of criminal law had occurred” and referred the matter to Richardson, as state law requires. Again, Richardson declined to file charges.

“There is no evidence from I have been able to find that the reporting of the date the contribution was received was knowing or willful misrepresented [SIC],” Richardson wrote in a letter to Ziegler. “I have also determined the reported date was not material to the filing.”

Greitens still is facing an ethics complaint filed by Rep. Jay Barnes, who charged the House committee that investigated the then-governor, for multiple campaign finance violations.

Read the MEC’s letter here.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.