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Fmr. Navy SEAL and Gov. Eric Greitens exonerated in campaign finance investigation

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the keynote address at the St. Louis Area Police Chiefs Association 27th Annual Police Officer Memorial Prayer Breakfast on April 25, 2018, at the St. Charles Convention Center. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
February 14, 2020

Former Republican Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has been exonerated of two campaign finance accusations Thursday, according to a report from the Missouri Ethics Commission. The two complaints alleged Greitens failed to report political contributions.

“After a review of the complaint, 235 pages of supporting documentation; the issuance of 23 subpoenas, which resulted in the production of roughly 8,000 multi-page documents, emails, and videos; approximately 20 interviews conducted by Commission investigators. … The MEC 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 panel wrote, as the Washington Examiner reported.

Greitens did, however, receive two fines totaling about $178,000 for failing to report in-kind contributions, a violation the commission found no evidence he was aware of having committed. If he pays $38,000 of the total fee “within 45 days after the date of this Consent Order, the remainder will be stayed,” according to the document.

Despite the violations, the commission did “not find reasonable grounds to support the remaining allegations contained in the complaint filed with the Commission.”

The former Rhodes Scholar resigned from his gubernatorial role on June 1, 2018, in the wake of political and sexual misconduct scandals. He said amid the hate he received from his political opponents, “Legal harassment of colleagues, friends and campaign workers, and it’s clear that for the forces that oppose us, there is no end in sight,” Fox News reported.

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“I cannot allow those forces to continue to cause pain and difficulty to the people that I love,” he added at the time.

The once-promising GOP star, who at one point was in talks to be a presidential nominee in the future, also insisted that he hadn’t “broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment.”

Now, the former Navy SEAL feels vindicated, saying in a statement to the Washington Examiner that “it’s good to have been exonerated.”

“I’m grateful the truth has won out, but this was never really about me — they launched this attack because we were fighting for the people of Missouri,” he added.

In early 2019, Greitens sought to return to military work, and although the scandal hurt his image, a political comeback is not out of the question.

The face of the Navy has changed quite a bit since Greitens left in 2007 after being wounded in a terrorist attack in Iraq — which earned him the Purple Heart.

This article has been updated to correct the financial nature of the commission’s findings.