JEFFERSON CITY — A nonprofit formed to boost former Gov. Eric Greitens took $50,000 from an organization affiliated with Charles Koch, a Kansas businessman and GOP mega-donor.
Tax filings made by The Seminar Network Chamber of Commerce Inc. show the group donated the money in 2017 to A New Missouri, the “dark-money” outfit formed by allies of Greitens early that year to promote Greitens’ conservative agenda and personal brand.
A New Missouri raised $6.1 million in 2017, but the sources of the vast majority of that war chest remain shrouded in secrecy because the 501(c)(4) nonprofit does not have to reveal its donors.
Because of tax filings made by The Seminar Network and one other organization, some information about A New Missouri’s fundraising has been made public.
The Center for Responsive Politics revealed in May that A New Missouri also accepted $500,000 from the Judicial Crisis Network, an organization that promotes conservative judges.
The Seminar Network’s donation to A New Missouri represented a small portion of the network’s overall activities in 2017, the filing shows.
According to its tax filing, The Seminar Network also gave $47.5 million to Americans for Prosperity, a 501(c)(4) group that supports Republicans and which doesn’t have to reveal its donors.
The Seminar Network Chamber of Commerce said in its tax filing that it was formed to “advance its members’ common business interests by advancing the principles of free markets and a free society.”
Mark Holden is listed as The Seminar Network’s president. He is also the senior vice president of Koch Industries Inc. and is chairman of Americans for Prosperity Foundation, according to its website.
A New Missouri filed its own tax return — known as a Form 990 — late last year, several months after Greitens, a Republican, resigned following months of scandal.
A New Missouri’s filing confirmed the organization received enough money in 2017 to rival the campaign accounts of statewide candidates. It shows that money flowed to political consulting firms tied to Greitens and his campaign — reinforcing concern over close ties between Greitens’ campaign and the nonprofit.
Unlike a traditional state campaign committee, A New Missouri was able to accept unlimited campaign donations and was able to shield its donors.
In July, at the culmination of a monthslong Missouri House investigation into Greitens’ campaign apparatus, then-state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, wrote in a complaint to the Missouri Ethics Commission that A New Missouri was formed to evade state campaign contribution limits and donor disclosure requirements.
Indeed, the 67 donations recorded in the 990 filing all exceed $2,600 — the cap voters in 2016 placed on individual donations to candidates.
The ethics complaint is still pending, and the ethics committee’s proceedings are private, meaning little is known about how the agency is handling Barnes’ complaint.
Greitens’ successor, Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, has avoided raising so-called “dark money.” Instead, his allies have used the Uniting Missouri PAC to raise money for Parson’s election in 2020.
While the political action committee does not have to adhere to donation limits set in 2016, it does have to disclose its donors under Missouri law.