Special House committee report: Greitens told campaign workers to use charity list for donors

Posted at 7:10 AM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 11:14:16-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight investigating Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens released a new report Wednesday. 

The report claims Greitens lied on a campaign disclosure form about a list of donors to his charity, The Mission Continues. Attorney General Josh Hawley said Gov. Greitens illegally obtained the donor list from the charity to use for political fundraising. Wednesday's report agrees with Hawley's allegations.

Greitens has previously admitted using the list for campaign fundraising. But in campaign disclosure forms filed with the state, he claimed the charity's list was a campaign contribution from Danny Laub, his campaign manager. Wednesday's report says the list "was contributed by Greitens himself," because Greitens ordered his executive assistant to share the list with Laub. 

Click here to read the report.

Catherine Hanaway, the governor's lawyer, called the report a "tremendous disservice to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions," saying Greitens is not being treated fairly. Her full statement can be read at the bottom of this story.

Greitens faces a felony computer tampering charge in the case, in addition to the felony invasion of privacy charge in the previous case stemming from alleged blackmail.

The White House is now interested in this investigation, according to CNN. A new report by CNN says White House staff have contacted lawmakers in Jefferson City to see if Vice President Mike Pence's Chief of Staff Nick Ayers will receive a subpoena. 

Before joining the White House staff, Ayers was hired by Gov. Greitens to help with his campaign for governor. 

The Special House Committee investigating Gov. Greitens recently hired a former Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice to serve as legal counsel. 

That former justice was on the bench the last time a statewide official was impeached from office. 

Catherine Hanaway, the governor's lawyer, sent the following statement to 41 Action News:

The report released today by Chairman Jay Barnes does a tremendous disservice to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions. Even a casual observer of our legal process knows that in the United States every American is entitled to their day in court, an opportunity to be heard, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Even though the report alleges that a false campaign report was filed, the Chairman did not allow the campaign an opportunity to be heard. He never asked the campaign to testify before his committee, nor did he request that the campaign provide any documents to his Committee. He did not issue any subpoenas on this matter to the campaign. And he certainly did not allow the campaign to be represented by counsel in its hearings nor to cross-examine any witnesses making accusations against it. He did not allow the campaign to confront its accusers or respond to accusations.  If a witness made an allegation, it was accepted as true and republished.

The sum and substance of the first 70 or so paragraphs outline a charge—that The Mission Continues list was used for campaign purposes—considered and resolved a year ago by the MEC with a $100 fine, less than most speeding tickets. The “big revelation” comes at the end of the report where former campaign manager Danny Laub attempts to say that he was falsely listed as the contributor of the list to the campaign. But if you read the actual testimony, Mr. Laub says Mr. Chambers called him, told him that his name would appear on the campaign finance report, that he was being listed because he was at the campaign at the time—and Mr. Laub agreed.

If the committee had heard from the campaign, it would have learned that Mr. Laub had possession of the list in early 2015, that the campaign was not formed until then, and that Mr. Laub was the top staff person on the campaign when it began.

This should have been an open process. There is no argument to be made that the identities or testimony of the accusers in this report should be shielded from scrutiny. This is, at its core, a minor campaign finance issue. The report pertains to allegations made about the source of a list used to raise money for a campaign. The witnesses were employees of or consultants to the campaign. Two of them were replaced long before election day. One of them worked for one of the Governor’s opponents in the campaign. And all of them were testifying about the campaign itself.

If Chairman Barnes were on a quest to find out the truth, he has unfinished business to conduct. He ought to ask the campaign for its version of events before acting as judge and jury in a matter that was settled long ago.