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Armed and dunderheaded


Gross disgusting rapey -- in the literal and not the figurative sense -- Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is still in office, somehow (something to do with being incapable of shame and the bar for allowable behavior having gone subterranean during the Trump administration). Sure, he has a couple of felony counts against him: one for his sick sextortion games and another for computer fraud in his campaign's misuse of an email fundraising list from a veterans' charity Greitens ran. But that's no reason to resign, because as we say, Eric Greitens is completely resistant to the notion of personal responsibility. This week, more details emerged in the case of email list, and it's genuinely impressive that in this modern world of today you could find such a creepy bunch of political thugs -- apart from the story centering around an email list and misuse of computers, the cast could come straight from any corrupt Gilded Age political machine.

The basics, which we had in mid-April, are simple enough: Since the 2016 election, there have been allegations that Greitens's campaign improperly used an email list that originally came from a veterans charity Greitens founded, called "The Mission Continues." That's a big no-no, since donor information Greitens got for the charity was supposed to stay with the charity, because charities are not political campaigns, not even after Donald Trump made all rules disappear forever. In October 2016, the AP broke the story that Greitens appeared to be raising funds for his campaign using the charity's email list, and Greitens of course denied it, because he's an amoral scumbag. Missouri Democrats filed an ethics complaint, because while there may no longer be rules, there's still a state Ethics Commission to pretend there are, and the Greitens campaign decided to make the whole issue go away by filing an amended report saying it had received the donor list as an "in-kind" donation from The Mission Continues.

Not that that would have been legal for The Mission Continues, which insists it never would have shared its donor information with a political campaign, which would violate the law and endanger its tax deductible status.

The latest twist of the story is detailed in a report by a state House committee investigating Greitens and his many weird sins. We learn that Daniel Laub, the campaign manager for Greitens starting early on, in 2014, says he was thrown under the bus by Team Greitens and tricked into saying he had arranged for the list to be transferred from the charity to the campaign. To appreciate the whole sorry tale of betrayal, go read the Kansas City Star's story; it's a doozy. Again, computers or no, we keep imagining everyone in this cast of characters with bowler hats and impressive mustaches.

The heavy here is top Greitens adviser Austin Chambers, who called Laub in April 2017 about the ethics complaint. Laub told the state attorney general's office,

"Austin says to me, ‘I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a bullshit ethics complaint filed against us by the Democrat Party about this Mission Continues donor list.’ And he said, ‘I need someone who was on the campaign at the time, because I wasn’t, to put their name down so we can get this bullshit complaint dismissed.'"

Chambers told Laub the campaign would pay the fine, "but 'we need to put someone's name down who was on the campaign at the time, and I was not.' And he said, 'Can we put your name down?'"

Sure, fine, said Laub, thinking Chambers was simply going to say Laub was the campaign manager at the time. Instead, Laub's name ended up on a settlement agreement stating he was responsible for giving the donor list from the charity to the campaign as a "donation." Laub said he wasn't allowed to see the documents before they were filed, and didn't know what was in them until reporters started calling him for comment. He told the House committee that Chambers had misled him, and that he "would never have agreed for it to be perceived or otherwise that I in-kinded a list that I did not in-kind." Say what you will about his political savvy, this man does need to be held responsible for using "in kind" as a verb.

And now, here comes that campaign bus!

Chambers issued a statement Monday evening calling Laub a "disgruntled former employee" and saying his "testimony is inaccurate."

Chambers noted that he was not involved with or employed by the Greitens campaign during the time in question surrounding The Mission Continues donor list. He said he first learned of the issue regarding the donor list in fall 2016 when the AP wrote about it. In responding to the complaint filed with the ethics commission, he said the campaign determined that the list was in Laub's possession when the campaign was officially formed in February 2015.

"Prior to the settlement with the [Missouri Ethics Commission], I relayed this finding to Laub in a brief phone conversation," Chambers said. "Laub did not provide differing facts. To say that I provided false information, or misled Laub to go along with false information, is absolutely untrue."

Or maybe it was all Obama's fault. Hillary's emails? Hackers? For its part, the charity is very insistent that Greitens never should have used the donor list for political purposes, and the report details that he'd signed a non-disclosure agreement that, thank Crom, was not about sex but did stipulate that all donor information and data belonged to the charity and could not be released without the charity's written permission. Greitens was charged with felony "computer tampering" for arranging to have an underling download the donor list to his campaign.

Of course, this also plays into Missouri's 2018 US Senate campaign, since the Republican running against incumbent Claire McCaskill is state Attorney General Josh Hawley, who doesn't want the governor's mess to drag him under with voters asking why the AG's office hasn't been more aggressive in doing something about the rogue governor.

Greitens may not be around long enough to be an issue in the Senate race, however: Late yesterday afternoon, the Missouri state lege -- pardon us, the General Assembly -- announced it would hold a special session to consider impeaching Greitens. The special session required three quarters of the members of the House and Senate to sign a petition, so that may not bode too well for Greitens's future, especially considering that some of those who didn't sign the petition only did so because they want impeachment to begin now, during the regular legislative session. As it is, the special session will start immediately after the current session ends, on May 18. If Greitens were removed from office, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson would serve out the rest of his term.

Maybe Greitens can blame the impeachment on George Soros, like he has the criminal charges against him.

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[Kansas City Star / KC Star]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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