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Democrats ask Greitens to return donation from CEO under federal investigation


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Democratic Party has cried foul on a $100,000 contribution received by Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens in Aug. 2015 for his campaign.

The donation in question came from Steven Cohen, the current CEO of the Point72 Asset Management hedge fund. That company was formerly known as SAC Capital, which was marred by insider trading investigations from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FBI in the early 2010s. The company settled on four counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud in July 2013, and pleaded guilty on all five counts that November by paying a $1.2 billion fine.

Cohen, the 37th richest man in America as of 2015, was targeted during the investigations, and earlier this month, Cohen was banned from managing hedge funds for two years by the SEC for his failure to monitor one of the firm’s portfolio managers, Mathew Martoma. Martoma is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence for the largest ever single insider trading transaction.

An attack ad by Eric Greitens grouping Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder with Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster.
An attack ad by Eric Greitens grouping Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder with Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster.

Greitens has criticized the ethics reform push by Gov. Jay Nixon and the General Assembly as “watered-down” and released his own ethics platform Jan. 11. One of the pillars of that platform was to “end donations from companies under investigation,” which appeared to be a shot at Attorney General, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Chris Koster for removing his office from investigating a company from which he had received political donations.

Koster denied any impropriety had occurred.

While Point72 is not currently under investigation by the FBI, Roy Temple, the chair of the Missouri Democratic Party, still views Greitens accepting a donation from him as a sign of hypocrisy.

“Eric Greitens wants one set of rules for himself and one set for everyone else,” Temple said. “Measured by the standard he announced, Mr. Greitens has waded into ethically questionable territory. He should immediately return the contribution from Steve Cohen, who has been under an ethical cloud for years.

“After refunding that contribution, Eric Greitens should explain to the people of Missouri why he would accept a contribution that violates his own ethics pledge.”

The Greitens campaign elected not to comment on the story.