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Greitens files paperwork keeping campaign alive through 2024

Austin Huguelet Springfield News-Leader
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens reads from a prepared statement as he announces his resignation during a May 2018 news conference at the state Capitol. Greitens resigned amid a widening investigation that arose from an affair with his former hairdresser. He filed paperwork this week indicating he may return to politics in 2024.

Former Gov. Eric Greitens' campaign filed paperwork with the state Wednesday indicating he plans to run for an unspecified statewide office in 2024.

That doesn't necessarily mean he's actually running for anything.

For now, Greitens' filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission mostly means his campaign can continue to raise and spend money as it has since he resigned in disgrace two years ago.

Lately, the campaign's been mostly spending. From April 2019 through March, it spent more than $400,000, much of which went toward legal bills. It also covered advertising, travel costs, pay for a campaign worker and office supplies.

Previously, Greitens' campaign committee told the ethics commission he planned to run for governor again in 2020.

But when the time came to file paperwork with the Secretary of State's office earlier this year, Greitens was a no-show.

Greitens could still make a run for office as an independent or write-in candidate, but he has made no public indication he plans to do so.

However, Greitens has made numerous public appearances in recent months after the Missouri Ethics Commission announced in February it had completed an investigation into accusations that his campaign violated state campaign finance law.

The commission fined his campaign $178,000 for two violations, but dismissed several other claims and wrote in a consent order that it found “no evidence of any wrongdoing on the part of Eric Greitens” and no evidence he knew about the violations that prompted the fines.

Greitens subsequently cast that as a full "exoneration" of his conduct and took to Facebook to accuse unspecified enemies of using lies and bribes as part of a "criminal effort to overturn the 2016 election."

He has also delivered face masks to first responders, including a batch of ill-fitting masks to Columbia firefighters, and appeared on Fox News to decry calls to "defund the police" in the wake of police violence against black Americans.

He also issued a joint statement with former first lady Sheena Greitens announcing their divorce.

Greitens, a Republican who resigned in June 2018, bounced from scandal to scandal in his final five months in office.

First, a St. Louis TV station reported he had an extramarital affair before taking office, which he admitted. Then Greitens faced allegations of sexual violence and coercion in that affair, which GOP lawmakers found credible but he roundly denied.

A few months later, then-Attorney General Josh Hawley announced he had evidence Greitens illegally used a donor list from his old charity, The Mission Continues, for political fundraising.

A criminal charge to that effect was later dropped in exchange for his resignation.

Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader's politics reporter. Got something he should know? Have a question? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at ahuguelet@news-leader.com.