Former Missouri governor Eric Greitens was exonerated of campaign finance charges Thursday, ending a 20-month ethics committee investigation.
Greitens faced allegations that he solicited illegal campaign contributions and failed to disclose campaign donors, among other infractions. After investigating for nearly two years, the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) released an order Thursday finding "no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Eric Greitens."
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"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, and a review of publicly available documents provided on the Internet by the Federal Election Commission, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Communications Commission, the MEC found no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Eric Greitens," the order said.
The decision comes amid mounting speculation that Greitens could return to Missouri politics in 2020, though the former governor's supporters have downplayed rumors.
Greitens celebrated the decision in a Thursday statement, saying he was "glad to have been vindicated."
"It's good to have been exonerated, and I'm glad to have been vindicated," Greitens said. "I'm grateful that 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."
Greitens resigned from office in June 2018 in the wake of a sex scandal. The former Navy SEAL was charged with invasion of privacy after a mistress accused him of threatening to blackmail her. Greitens was also charged with computer tampering related to the alleged campaign finance violations. Both charges were dropped.
While Greitens has now been cleared of wrongdoing in the ethics investigation, key parties in the criminal case against him are now under investigation themselves.
Before indicting Greitens for invasion of privacy, St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner tapped private investigator William Tisaby to look into the Missouri Republican. Gardner claims she turned to Tisaby because local police would not investigate Greitens, though the department says it was not asked to. When Greitens was charged, Gardner refused to give his legal team documents related to Tisaby's role in the case. Tisaby allegedly went on to commit perjury during a March 2018 deposition, where he denied coordination with Gardner's office.
Tisaby was charged with seven felony counts in June, including perjury and evidence tampering. Gardner herself is implicated in the investigation—the progressive prosecutor failed to correct or report Tisaby's inaccuracies in the deposition.
Gardner was elected in 2016 with the help of liberal megadonor George Soros, who contributed more than $190,000 to back her campaign. A group of six liberal prosecutors who received millions from Soros traveled to St. Louis in January to rally in support of Gardner as she testified in court. Gardner refused to answer many questions from a special prosecutor about her role in the Greitens investigation and will likely return to court.