Editor’s note: This story has been modified to include the fines incurred by the Greitens campaign.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After 20 months of investigation into allegations of campaign funding misconduct, the Missouri Ethics Commission has issued an order fully exonerating former Governor Eric Greitens.
However, this doesn’t mean that his campaign is off the hook. The investigation also found it failed to report some of its contributions in time. Although Greitens himself was found to have no knowledge of the improper reports, he is ultimately responsible for reporting contributions.
Therefore, the MEC has fined his campaign, Greitens for Missouri, $178,000 for the incident. However, if the campaign pays within 45 days, it will only have to cough up $38,000.
The order comes on the coattails of one of the largest investigations in the history of the commission, according to a news release. The MEC issued 23 subpoenas, conducted 20 interviews, and reviewed roughly 8,000 documents, emails and videos.
The Greitens campaign incurred costs of over $1.3 million defending against the allegations. An audit found that taxpayers paid for about $200,000 of those fees.
Investigators stated they found “no evidence of any wrongdoing” on the part of Eric Greitens himself, claiming he did not have knowledge of improper reporting. Other allegations, such as unethically using a donor list to raise campaign funds, were found to ultimately be legally unfounded.
“Eric Greitens is and always has been innocent of these false accusations. Our contention from the beginning was that the accusations against Mr. Greitens were baseless,” Catherine Hanaway, the leader of Husch Blackwell LLP’s Government Solutions practice team, said.
The MEC also agreed not to limit Greitens’ legal retaliation options against those who made accusations against him.
Greitens resigned from office in the spring of 2018 surrounded by questions of an extra-marital affair and campaign finance ethics.
A St. Louis grand jury indicted him in February that year on one felony count of invasion of privacy. Prosecutors said he took a compromising photo of a woman with whom he had an affair without her consent in 2015. The woman told a legislative committee Greitens restrained, slapped, shoved and threatened her during sexual encounters.
The charge was later dropped.
Shortly after, St. Louis prosecutors charged Greitens with another felony, alleging that he improperly used the donor list for a charity that he’d founded to raise money for his 2016 campaign.
The MEC took up the investigation when talks of impeachment fell through due to his resignation.
“It’s good to have been exonerated, and I’m glad to have been vindicated,” Greitens said in the release. “I’m grateful that the truth has won out.”