Lawmakers in Jefferson City are continuing their probe into the actions of Governor Eric Greitens a day after one criminal charge against him was dropped.
The Missouri House special committee investigating Greitens will subpoena one of the governor’s top operatives. The committee released a report in early May indicated that Greitens broke campaign finance laws.
After receiving the nod from the five other committee members present during a public hearing Tuesday, panel chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the group would subpoena Greitens’ policy advisor Will Scharf.
Scharf emailed a document to former Greitens advisor Michael Hafner in July 2016 that contended Greitens was using shell companies to hide donors.
At the time, Scharf was working for one of Greitens opponents in the Republican governor’s primary, Catherine Hanaway. Hanaway is now an attorney for the governor’s campaign organization, Greitens for Missouri.
The document was a PDF file labeled “Greitens Hides Donors”. The document, which was titled “confidential memorandum”, names two Limited Liability Corporations (LLC’s) – White Impala formed by attorney Michael Becker and ELX 83 formed by attorney Brian Bouquet.
The two LLC’s, registered with the state Ethics Commission a day apart in December 2015, list only the two lawyers as registered agents and no members. ELX 83 did include Kathleen Winschel who was one of Boquet’s paralegals.
The memorandum says Greitens’ gubernatorial campaign disclosed two contributions from ELX 83, one for $20,000 on December 29, 2015, and one for $10,000 on April 1, 2016. The memorandum says Greitens also disclosed a $10,000 contribution from White Impala the same day.
It claims the LLC’s were created to channel contributions from anonymous donors. The memorandum identifies Missouri law that prohibits concealing the source of campaign contributions and notes the arrangement to hide donors runs counter to Greitens continued attacks on “corruption” and “insider political games”.
In their email exchange, Hafner asks Scharf what he’s doing with the document. Scharf responds, “Sent it to a couple of people. Someone should file an MEC (Missouri Ethics Commission) compliant.
Committee chairman Barnes announced during the hearing that he intended to send a batch of subpoenas related to the creation of the two LLC’s.
A felony invasion of privacy charge against Greitens was dropped yesterday, although the prosecution vowed to refile the accusation. In it, the governor was alleged to have taken and transmitted a non-consensual photo of a woman who was undressed, bound and blindfolded in 2015.
Greitens still faces an additional felony computer tampering charge for allegedly obtaining and transferring a donor list from his former charity without permission for campaign purpose.
The special House committee is investigating Greitens’ activities related to both charges. In relation to the computer tampering accusation, it’s is probing further into Greitens actions
The committee released additional email correspondence Tuesday to back up its early May report indicating Greitens broke campaign finance laws by paying advisors personally or through one of his groups before forming his campaign committee on February 25th, 2015.
According to the state Ethics Commission, it requires candidates running for statewide office to register with the commission when they spend more than $500.
The additional documents released Tuesday include a December 2014 email to Greitens from Hafner. In it, Hafner said that after conferring with the ethics commission, he thought Greitens should form an exploratory committee instead of a political action committee.
He explained that the presence of a political action committee would create difficulty for Greitens to raise money while meeting with donors and would raise ethics questions among potential opponents.
Hafner specifically mentioned Tom Schweich, who committed suicide shortly after announcing his candidacy for governor and Catherine Hanaway, who was defeated by Greitens in the primary and now represents his campaign organization.
The emails also include correspondence days later between Hafner and Dany Laub, another Greitens advisor, who were establishing a time, day and location to meet and discuss a committee for Greitens.
Committee Chairman Barnes said the emails further back up the group’s second report alleging that Greitens was conducting campaign activities in 2014 before registering a committee.