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Email shows how Greitens team began using charity donor list to ask for money

Email shows how Greitens team began using charity donor list to ask for money

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Greitens announces his candidacy in 2015

Eric Greitens announces his candidacy on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 at Westport Plaza in Maryland Heights. Photo by Huy Mach,

JEFFERSON CITY • An employee of Eric Greitens emailed a donor list from the Mission Continues charity to two of Greitens’ campaign staffers in early 2015, according to a copy of the email obtained by the Post-Dispatch.

The donor list in question has been the subject of off-and-on attention since October 2016, when The Associated Press first reported that the Greitens campaign may have possessed the list. The AP reported then that the charity sharing the list could have violated laws that bar 501(c)(3) organizations from taking sides in elections.

Greitens, in 2016, initially denied using the list, but in a later settlement with the Missouri Ethics Commission, he admitted that the campaign did. He has never said how his campaign came into possession of the list. Greitens founded the Mission Continues in 2007 and left in 2014 — around the same time the list was created, according to the AP.

Krystal Taylor, whose LinkedIn profile said she was a vice president at the Greitens Group at the time, sent the list to campaign staffers Michael Hafner and Danny Laub on Jan. 6, 2015, according to the email. According to her profile, Taylor had worked at the Mission Continues until May 2014, the same month the list was created.

Laub and Hafner were two of the Greitens campaign’s earliest paid staffers. Hafner eventually left the campaign to work for one of Greitens’ rivals in the GOP primary, businessman John Brunner.

Taylor and Laub did not respond to requests for comment on Monday. Hafner declined to speak about the email.

The disclosure comes as Greitens defends himself against felony invasion of privacy charges stemming from a nonconsensual photograph he allegedly snapped of his lover in 2015.

Lawmakers have said that St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner has expanded her investigation of the governor — and that issues related to the donor list may be on her radar.

In October 2016, Greitens’ opponent, then-Attorney General Chris Koster, raised legal questions about the list’s use.

“If there has been coordination between the Mission Continues and the Greitens campaign that would be troubling,” Koster said then.

But in the AP report, Greitens denied using the donor list to solicit donations. The candidate did acknowledge that he made calls to his old contacts.

“No, we were not working off of a Mission Continues donor list,” Greitens said at the time. “We were calling people who had become friends and gotten to know me over the course of seven years, who invested in the Mission Continues, and got to know me as a leader.”

Laura L’Esperance told the AP in October 2016 that the charity did not share its list with the campaign. L’Esperance did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

While Greitens initially denied that his campaign used the list, he signed a settlement agreement with the Missouri Ethics Commission in April 2017 stating that the campaign did receive the list and did not report its receipt on financial disclosure forms.

The MEC does not have the authority to prosecute politicians criminally.

In an interview, James Klahr, the agency’s executive director, declined to talk about his team’s investigation. In response to a Sunshine request, he also said his office did not possess any subpoenas or other investigative requests from authorities. Klahr did say that other investigative entities could probe the case if they saw fit.

“Nothing about our process would preclude, right, some other entity from considering the same,” Klahr said.

As part of the MEC settlement agreement, the campaign revised its filings to show that Laub donated the list, valued at $600, on March 1, 2015, as an in-kind contribution.

But it remained unclear how Laub obtained the list.

The Post-Dispatch asked former Greitens campaign manager Austin Chambers how Laub obtained the email list, when the list was first used by the Greitens campaign and whether the list poses any legal problems to Greitens.

The newspaper also asked why the campaign reported that the donation took place on March 1, when evidence the newspaper obtained suggested the campaign possessed the list before then.

The newspaper also asked Chambers if he had been contacted by any authorities related to Greitens. That was the only question Chambers responded to.

“No, I have not been contacted by any authorities,” he said in an email on Monday.

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