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Greitens' big donor still secret in Missouri governor race

Greitens' big donor still secret in Missouri governor race

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JEFFERSON CITY • In what his opponent’s campaign is calling “pathetic” and an “utter joke,” a group that handed Republican candidate for governor Eric Greitens a nearly $2 million check continues to keep the source of the largest single political contribution in Missouri history a secret.

Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, received $1.9 million from a federal political action committee called SEALs for Truth. At the time, the PAC was not required to report who contributed to the fund until Oct. 15.

That deadline came and went with the group listing its lone donor as the American Policy Coalition Inc. — a group that hasn’t filed with state or federal election authorities and has a website devoid of anything but a logo.

The August contribution helped fuel advertising purchases by Greitens during a hard-fought, four-way GOP primary. At the time, Greitens said the donation came from Navy special warfare crewman.

“Eric is proud to stand with his fellow Navy SEALs, and he is grateful to have their support in this campaign,” Greitens campaign manager Austin Chambers said at the time.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster slammed the earlier claims, saying Greitens’ first run for political office is being funneled through obscure groups.

“Eric Greitens lied to the people of Missouri. He is running a campaign with no regard for ethics or integrity. This FEC disclosure further proves his only interest is furthering his own political ambitions,” said Koster spokesman David Turner. “What’s worse is that he continues to mislead Missourians by refusing to release his tax returns. I have one word to describe Eric Greitens on ethics: pathetic.”

Missouri is one of the few states that allows unlimited political contributions. But it also requires that donations of $5,000 or more have to be publicly reported immediately.

There is no such immediate-reporting requirement for federal committees giving to state campaigns, allowing the committees’ donors to remain secret until after the primary election.

Attempts to reach Nicholas Britt, who is listed as treasurer of SEALs for Truth, were not successful.

The Greitens camp also did not immediately respond to requests for information about the source of his donors.

In August, the Missouri Ethics Commission found no reasonable grounds to pursue a complaint alleging the PAC had been structured in a way as to shroud the identities of the donors.

The author of that complaint, former state Rep. Carl Bearden of St. Charles, did not return telephone messages left at his home Monday.

Meanwhile, Greitens on Monday reported receiving $4.2 million in the most recent fundraising quarter compared to Koster’s $3.3 million.

However, the reports show Koster with $6.6 million in his campaign account heading into the final weeks of the campaign. Greitens reported $2.7 million.

Koster also outspent Greitens during the period. He put $6.2 million into ads and other expenses, compared to Greitens’ $4.7 million.

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