SPRINGFIELD — For the first time since his resignation, Eric Greitens speaks about the decision after a state report cleared him of any individual wrongdoing.
The thing that sticks out in the minds of many Missourians about Eric Greitens tenure as Governor was his extramarital affair that resulted in an invasion of privacy lawsuit. That lawsuit was dropped the day before he resigned in June of 2018, and resulted in one of the investigators on the case being indicted on seven felony counts including lying under oath and tampering with evidence.
But the investigation that ended up playing out until Thursday was on regarding Greitens 2016 campaign to become Missouri Governor, and its reporting of contributions made by two PACS: one of which was Greitens’ own non-profit.
The Missouri Ethics Commission cleared Former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens of any individual wrongdoing on Thursday in regards to failure to report contributions to his campaign in 2016.
But his campaign, “Greitens for Missouri”, is still on the hook for some hefty fees.
Greitens told our affiliate KTVI in St. Louis that he’s feeling good about the news, after the MEC released it’s 18 page report that took about 20 months to complete.
The MEC reached its ruling after 23 subpoena, 20 interviews, and about 8,000 documents that included emails and video.
There were two campaign contributions that were in question for the investigation. One was from the LG PAC, which funded radio and TV ads that targeted Greitens’ political opponents. The other was Greitens’ own non-profit called “A New Missouri”, which funded a survey conducted by his campaign.
The MEC report “found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Eric Greitens, individually, and no evidence that Governor Greitens knew of the two reporting violations.”
The MEC imposed fees totaling $178,087 for Greitens campaign.
However, Greitens’ campaign reached a deal with the MEC, and if they pay $38,000 of the fee in the next 45 days, they won’t make them pay the full amount.
Despite the large fee they are required to pay, Greitens is viewing this as a victory.
“I am really glad that we were vindicated, and I’m grateful that the truth is finally coming out,” Greitens told our affiliate KTVI.
The MEC report states that their findings do not prevent Greitens from pursuing civil or criminal lawsuits for this matter.
When asked about whether or not Greitens regrets resigning, he had this to say:
“I’ve thought about that a lot. It was the right decision at the time for the people who I loved the most. One of the things that we said when I resigned — is I said, ‘Look, sometimes you have to step off the battlefield and you’ve gotta take care of the wounded, and you’ve especially got to take care of the wounded that you love.’ This was having a devastating effect of the people who I really cared about. It was the hardest thing I have ever done,” says Greitens.
When Greitens was asked if he would consider running to become Governor once again, Greitens didn’t give a straight answer, and said he was focusing on the MEC report and its effect.
It’s important to note that Greitens’ campaign is still active on the Missouri Ethics Commission website, and under his “election history” there is a section for the upcoming Missouri Governor Primary on August 4th, 2020.
That doesn’t guarantee that Greitens will run, but the door open that it is a possibility.
The period to officially file for the Missouri Governor race starts February 25 and ends March 31, so we’ll have an answer on whether he runs in 2020 over the next month and a half.
For more of what Greitens told KTVI, you can find that here.