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House committee sues Greitens campaign, nonprofit for records

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The special committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens wants a judge to enforce two subpoenas on Greitens' campaign and a nonprofit connected to him.

The committee issued requests to Greitens for Missouri and A New Missouri, Inc. on May 3 seeking information related to coordination between the two groups. The latter group was formed weeks after Greitens was sworn into office. It includes campaign staff members connected to the nonprofit group.

Catherine Hanaway, an attorney for both organizations and a former Republican opponent of Greitens', told the committee that the information they sought was "irrelevant" to its investigation of the governor. Hanaway said in an email to the committee's attorneys that A New Missouri, particularly, had no information to give the committee.

Edward "Chip" Robertson, attorney for the committee, wrote that the nonprofit had several proven connections to Greitens. Not only does Hanaway represent both, but former campaign aide Austin Chambers said the group coordinates issues between A New Missouri and the office of the governor.

"Unquestionably, there exists a reasonable basis for The Committee to investigate the relationship between Eric R. Greitens, Greitens for Missouri and A New Missouri, Inc. as part of its investigation of Eric R. Greitens," the lawsuit said.

A confidential memo from Will Scharf, a former campaign staff member for Hanaway who now works in Greitens' Cabinet, provided some information that Greitens planned on using "shell companies" to hide donor information. Robertson said the Scharf emails uncovered by the committee proves the need to investigate whether or not Greitens violated campaign finance reporting laws.

Committee chairman Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, disclosed the subpoenas on Monday during a committee meeting, as well as Hanaway's refusal to provide some other documents.

The request to A New Missouri involved all employment records, receipts for paid media and any leases or subleases the nonprofit had signed. The subpoena also sought "communications of employees, agents, contractors, or associates of A New Missouri, Inc. to or from any donor or potential donor of A New Missouri, Inc."

Hanaway wrote to Robertson that disclosing donor information could cause privacy issues.

"As a 501(c)(4) organization, A New Missouri has no duty to disclose its donors to the public," Hanaway wrote. "Donors expect that their contributions will not be identified publicly or be provided to the government. Both the donors and the entities have a First Amendment interest in keeping donor identities private."

 


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