Attorney investigating Greitens’ nonprofit says local, national officials were involved in dark-money scheme
By TIM ROWDEN
Missouri State Representative Jay Barnes, who chaired the House committee that was investigating former Governor Greitens for personal and political misconduct before his resignation on June 1, said he was filing a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission against Greitens’ campaign committee “Greitens for Missouri” and the nonprofit “A New Missouri Inc. “
In a memo to his colleagues, Barnes said he believes dark-money
nonprofit A New Missouri was a “criminal enterprise from its inception… designed to illegally skirt donation limits and conceal identities of major donors to Eric Greitens and ballot initiatives relating to ‘right-to-work’ that were supported and promoted by Greitens.
FORMED TO PROMOTE ‘RIGHT-TO-WORK’
Last week, Elad Gross, a St. Louis attorney investigating A New Missouri, released multiple reports exposing what he said amounts to a nationally coordinated plan involving state elected officials and advisors to Vice President Mike Pence to influence Missouri government.
The reports outline how Gross believes A New Missouri allegedly used legal loopholes to avoid campaign finance laws and influence Missouri government with millions of dollars in anonymous political donations.
Gross said the “dark money” scheme appeared to be a coordinated effort to support Proposition A, the “right-to-work” ballot initiative on the Aug. 7 ballot, and that “much of the money eventually went to companies associated with the organizers of the scheme.”
The alleged organizers, according to Gross, include Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, and Michael Adams, a Washington, DC attorney and candidate for Kentucky Secretary of State.
Ayers and Adams currently work together for the Vice President’s political action committee, and they worked at the Republican Governors Association, which donated $13 million to Greitens’ campaign.
According to Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) records, companies associated with Ayers were paid over $23 million in Missouri. Adams’ law firm collected over $80,000.
Records from the MEC and its federal counterpart, the FEC, indicate that the larger donors involved in the scheme also contributed to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.
The House committee chaired by Barnes had issued a subpoena to A New Missouri in May demanding it turn over documents that lawmakers thought could demonstrate efforts to illegally circumvent the state’s campaign disclosure laws.
Hours after a Cole County judge agreed to enforce the subpoena, potentially exposing the donors and inner workings of A New Missouri, Greitens resigned.
Barnes said he hoped Hawley, Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson or the Missouri Ethics Commission would pick up the inquiry where the House left off.
Gross says Hawley is not investigating A New Missouri and other similar organizations, nor is he maintaining a readily available list of nonprofit organizations as required under Missouri consumer protection laws.
Missouri law requires some transparency, Gross said, but the law is not being enforced by the Attorney General or other elected officials.
“Missouri deserves better than being the political playground of folks with a lot of money who do not live here,” Gross said. “Our elected officials need to do their jobs, and we need to hold them accountable.”
The reports are available online at NoMODarkMoney.org.