By SUMMER BALLENTINE, Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley on Friday said his office has issued 15 subpoenas as part of an investigation into a veterans charity founded by indicted Republican Gov. Eric Greitens.
Republican Hawley — who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in a race with national implications — said subpoenas went to the charity, The Mission Continues, as well as Greitens’ campaign and the Greitens Group. Hawley said they also subpoenaed staffers or former staffers at those entities, but he wouldn’t say specifically who.
“Suffice it to say that this is a very active investigation and it is progressing by the day,” Hawley told reporters in his Jefferson City office.
Hawley announced the inquiry into the veterans charity earlier this month after The Associated Press reported that Greitens had used a Mission Continues email to send meeting invitations to political consultants as he was preparing to run for office in 2015.
Greitens, who was on the board of directors of The Mission Continues at the time, sent meeting invitations from the charity’s email address to three political consultants, according to records obtained by AP.
Federal tax law prohibits 501(c)(3) charities such as The Mission Continues from participating in any political campaign on behalf of a candidate for public office, with penalties ranging up to the loss of their tax-exempt status. The legal consequences for individual charity directors are less clear.
Greitens also faces an ongoing investigation by the St. Louis prosecutor’s office after a grand jury last month indicted him on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge related to an extramarital affair in 2015. The indictment alleges Greitens took a nonconsensual photo of the partially nude woman with whom he was having the affair.
Greitens has acknowledged the affair but denied any criminal wrongdoing.
On top of that, the Republican-led Missouri House launched an investigation of Greitens to look into allegations against him.
Hawley said his office is cooperating with both of those investigations.
This is the second review Hawley’s office has conducted against Greitens. The office earlier found no evidence of open-records-law violations after checking into use of a secretive messaging app, Confide, by some top staffers in the governor’s office. The app deletes messages after they’re read.
Democrats have repeatedly criticized the Confide review, including complaints from a group of attorneys who previously served under Democratic elected officials over Hawley’s office’s decision not to press for an interview with Greitens himself.
Missouri law does not give the attorney general subpoena power to investigate possible violations of the state’s Sunshine law. Hawley said he would reopen the review if legislators pass a bill to give his office the authority to issue subpoenas in those cases.