A watchdog group formally accused disgraced Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens of illegally funneling over $100,000 into his Senate campaign

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Former Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri near the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO on May 17, 2018.
Former Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri near the State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO on May 17, 2018. AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
  • The Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the FEC against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

  • The group is accusing Greitens of illegally funneling $100,000 to his Senate campaign.

  • Greitens has a history of ethics violations and sexual misconduct, and he resigned as governor in 2018.

The Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint Thursday morning with the Federal Election Commission against former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, accusing him of illegally funneling over $100,000 in leftover money from his gubernatorial campaign account into his Senate campaign.

Greitens had over $1.1 million dollars in the bank when he resigned amidst a sexual misconduct scandal in 2018, and he's now running in a competitive Republican primary to succeed Sen. Roy Blunt, who's not seeking re-election in 2022.

Federal laws block candidates who are seeking a federal office - like a House or Senate seat - from using leftover money from a state-level campaign for their races. That's because state campaigns are often subject to different rules, such as contribution limits, than federal campaigns.

CLC's complaint highlights a series of payments made between March 2019 and March 2021, all of which coincided with Greitens testing the waters for a Senate bid but took place before he formally announced his campaign on Bret Baier's Fox News show.

That includes over $50,000 paid to his once and future campaign manager, and tens of thousands of dollars more on media, advertising, and consulting expenses - all of which totaled over $100,000.

"The agency needs to take action against Eric Greitens and both campaign committees for this blatantly illegal spending," the group said in a press release.

Federal campaign finance laws set clear guidelines for how candidates can spend money "testing the waters" for a campaign, and all of it has to be reported if a campaign is actually launched. Greitens apparently failed to do that as well.

The complaint also notes that Greitens received "dozens of contributions of $100,000 and above from individuals and corporations," which were legal at that time for state races in Missouri but are not permissible under federal law.

"While Greitens' 2022 Senate campaign may only accept contributions of up to $2,900 per individual and, importantly, cannot receive corporate funds, his gubernatorial campaign raised dozens of contributions far exceeding that amount - some as much as $100,000 and above," said Brendan Fischer, director of federal reform for Campaign Legal Center, in a press release. "Senate candidates cannot quietly finance their campaign with six-figure and corporate contributions."

CLC also says that Greitens violated the "straw donor ban" - a provision meant to prevent individuals from exceeding donation limits by funneling money through other people - by describing an $18,000 transaction in March 2021 as a personal contribution when it instead likely came from his gubernatorial campaign.

Greitens resigned from the governor's office in disgrace in May 2018 after a "revenge porn" scandal in which he was accused of threatening to share an image of a nude woman he'd had an extramarital affair with if she spoke out about it; Greitens denied criminal wrongdoing. He had faced possible impeachment by a Republican-led legislature and an investigation by then-Attorney General Josh Hawley, now the state's junior US senator.

Republicans reportedly worry that Greitens could jeopardize Republicans' chances of holding the Senate seat next year, given his scandal-plagued past and the fact that he currently leads the Republican primary field. The former governor, for his part, has sought to cast himself as an ally of former President Donald Trump, traveling to Arizona several times to promote a Republican-led "audit" of 2020 ballots in an attempt to decertify President Joe Biden's victory.

Greitens' campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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