The ascent of Donald Trump to power has given the opportunity for a number of unscrupulous lower level political figures to come out of the woodwork, so to speak. One such individual is Missouri’s newly elected Republican Governor Eric Greitens, who has refused to resign but just got slapped with a second criminal charge. Proving the connection to the implicit license provided by the president’s behavior, Greitens has called the investigation into him a “witch hunt,” which is, of course, one of the president’s favorite terms.
The new charge against the governor is a felony charge of tampering with computer data that stems from his campaign’s usage of a charity donor list. The charge alleges that Greitens put the charity donor list to use without the permission of the St. Louis charity known as The Mission Continues, which the new governor himself founded.
That group describes itself on its website as a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2007 to provide opportunities for post-9/11 veterans to find purpose at home through community impact.” Greitens himself is a former Navy SEAL officer.
The announcement of a felony charge in connection to the usage of data from that charity comes just days after Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who himself is a Republican, announced that he has found ample evidence to support such a charge. He referred the matter to Democratic St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who, in classic Trump-ian fashion, the Missouri governor has sought to undercut. The Associated Press notes that he has called her a “reckless liberal prosecutor,” which calls to mind the president’s incessant targeting of current and former justice officials like former FBI director James Comey, who he recently called a “slimeball” on Twitter — because of course he did.
The spark for the AG Hawley investigation into the donor list from The Mission Continues was a report that in early 2015, an employee of the current governor who had worked for the charity in the past gave it to Michael Hafner and Danny Laub, both of whom worked for Greitens at one point.
The Greitens camp had previously made a show of making restitution for the improper sharing of data via a $100 fine paid up in April of last year. That fine was for failing to report that the campaign had received the list and came after the governor denied ever using the list at all. In total, the governor’s campaign raised $2 million from donors on the list, and after scrutiny, they filed amended finance reports to indicate their receipt of the information.
The charge over the mishandling of the data comes after the governor already faced a criminal charge of invasion of privacy for allegedly taking a semi-nude photo of a woman with whom he was having an affair and threatening to release it if she revealed their relationship.
Pressure on Greitens to resign has been building following the recent release of a report by a state House committee that included allegations the governor had “restrained, slapped, grabbed, shoved and threatened” the woman in a series of encounters that at times left her “crying and afraid.”
The governor is set to go to trial in that case on May 14.
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