Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was charged Friday with felony computer tampering in connection with allegedly stealing a fundraising list from a veterans charity he co-founded, The Mission Continues, after leaving the organization in 2014.
Mr. Greitens, a Republican elected governor in 2016, “directed the disclosure” of “data, specifically a donor list owned by The Mission Continues, to a political fundraiser … working on behalf of Greitens for Missouri,” according to a probable cause statement issued by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office detailing the allegations against the governor, CNN reported.
The list of donors “was taken without the permission of The Mission Continues” in April 2015 and ultimately ended up on a computer used for conducting business on behalf of Mr. Greitens’ gubernatorial run, the probable cause statement said.“The Mission Continues employee handbook and the non-disclosure agreements prohibited the disclosure of the donor list and the (retention) of it by anyone not employed by and working on behalf of The Mission Continues,” prosecutors wrote. “The Mission Continues conflict of interest agreement signed by board members prohibited the personal use of The Mission Continues assets, including the donor list.”
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced on Tuesday this week that he uncovered evidence involving Mr. Greitens and had provided his findings to a committee of state lawmakers already investigating separate allegations against the governor at the heart of an earlier felony indictment unsealed in February.
“St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner reviewed the evidence turned over to her by my office and determined that there is probable cause to file criminal charges against the Governor,” Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said in a statement Friday.
“These are serious charges — and an important reminder that no one is above the law in Missouri,” added Mr. Hawley, a Republican.
Mr. Greitens, 38, denounced Ms. Gardner’s decision to bring a new felony against the governor in a statement late Friday.
“She is wasting thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to do all of this,” said Mr. Greitens. “Her original case is falling apart — so today, she’s brought a new one. By now, everyone knows what this is: this prosecutor will use any charge she can to smear me.”
“This allegation is absurd, and Eric will be found innocent of this accusation in court,” added Ed Dowd, the governor’s attorney.
Ms. Gardner, a Democrat, unsealed an indictment on Feb. 22 charging Mr. Greitens with felony invasion of privacy for allegedly photographing a partially nude woman without her consent. The governor has denied wrongdoing, and that case is currently slated to go to trial in May.
A former Navy SEAL, Mr. Greitens founded The Mission Continues in 2007. He resigned as CEO in early 2014 and launched his gubernatorial bid the following year.