Thursday, August 9, 2018

Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens sought cash and influence from Russia and other foreign interests, in part through U.S. Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)

Eric Greitens
Have Russian interests been involved in abuse that has been directed at my wife, Carol, and me for 10-plus years? Carol and I are relatively small fry, so the question might seem absurd at first glance. But we know Russians tried to influence public opinion in the Philando Castille case in Minnesota, where deadly police force had the potential to spark racial unrest. We also know public officials in our former home state, Alabama, have been dallying with Russian interests for years; the most recent example involving U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who led a Republican delegation to Russia with the apparent purpose of sparking Arctic drilling and possible meddling in 2018 midterm elections.

Now, we've learned that our current "home state," Missouri, has been led by a governor who sought Russian cash and influence. We're talking about Eric Greitens, who resigned in May amid a whirlwind of scandals.

First, it's a matter of public record that one strong Greitens supporter is Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott, who orchestrated an unlawful eviction that ended with deputies breaking Carol's arm and bringing bogus criminal charges against HER, the victim of police brutality. And how is this for curious timing? Greitens was inaugurated on Jan. 9, 2017, and Carol was arrested for "assault on a law enforcement officer" on Jan. 30, 2017. A Greitens appointee, Greene County Judge Jerry Harmison, found Carol guilty even though the deputy "victim" admitted in an incident report (and on the stand, at trial) that she did not commit the offense -- that he caused physical contact with her, not the other way around.

Hmmm, almost sounds like Arnott was waiting for a signal from his favorite governor before moving forward with a baseless arrest. And sounds like Harmison handled the case corruptly to help provide cover for Arnott.

Did Arnott's "favorite governor" have ties to Russians and other foreign interests? The answer is "without a doubt."

One of Greitens' many scandals involved his efforts to seek campaign donations from foreigners. That, of course, is illegal, but it did not stop Greitens. From an article at the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune:

During the first months of 2015, Gov. Eric Greitens actively sought donations from foreigners for his campaign — contributions that would be illegal under federal law — according to testimony given to a legislative committee.

Michael Hafner, a political consultant who worked for Greitens from January through March 2015, testified that the campaign team was working with people Greitens met while studying at Oxford University in the late 1990s.

“It was a road that I was never comfortable going down because I know in the American political system, foreign contributions are not allowed in American political races,” Hafner said in an interview Thursday. “I don’t know what happened after I left.”

The testimony raises troubling questions about whether the proliferation of “dark money” groups — political organizations that don’t disclose donors — has allowed illegal foreign money into U.S. politics, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said during a visit to Columbia.

Did Greitens attempt to have specific ties to Russia? Yes, indeed, via U.S. Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who has been described as a favorite of Russian President Vladimir Putin. From an article at the Kansas City Star, again focusing on former Greitens consultant, Michael Hafner:

Michael Hafner, a longtime GOP consultant who worked on Greitens’ campaign early on, told lawmakers that the governor directed him to “have conversations with donors who intended to raise significant amounts of money and … conceal the identity of those donors.”

Hafner said that at the governor’s urging, he spoke with Monu Joseph, a California-based venture capitalist who wanted to discuss how to bundle donations and conceal the identity of donors by funneling them through LLCs, according to a transcript of Hafner’s March testimony to a special House committee.

During the campaign, Greitens touted his commitment to transparency and blasted candidates who relied on support from political action committees to obscure their financial backers.

Notice that Monu Joseph is based in California, and that puts him close to Dana Rohrabacher:

Hafner told the committee that he and Joseph specifically discussed raising money from foreign nationals, which would violate a federal law that prohibits campaigns from knowingly accepted money from foreign nationals. . . .

Lawmakers asked Hafner about a campaign document that showed Greitens would be traveling to Hong Kong during the exploratory phase of his campaign.

Dana Rohrabacher
The committee released a heavily redacted version of the document that shows that Greitens planned to to meet in Hong Kong with a person who had donated to his charity, The Mission Continues.
The person, whose name is redacted, pledged to donate $50,000 to the campaign.

The document, which includes a call sheet of charity donors, recommends asking Joseph for $15,000 during the campaign’s exploratory phase and notes that he has a connection to U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who has faced scrutiny because of his ties to Russia.

Rohrabacher's ties to Russia, amid the Robert Mueller investigation, reportedly have put his re-election at risk:

The Russia investigation has shown few signs of having an impact in this year’s congressional elections, but there’s a House race in Orange County, Calif., where Vladimir Putin looms large.

In fact, the congressman running for reelection there says he once arm wrestled the Russian president.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher easily stands out as one of the most pro-Russia voices in the Republican Party. During the 2016 campaign, Politico called him ‘Putin’s favorite congressman.’ The New York Times reported that Russia viewed him as an intelligence source, even giving him a Kremlin code name. Rohrabacher’s story about arm wrestling Putin involves a few rounds of drinks in the 1990s and settling an argument over who won the Cold War.

Members of Congress and those hoping to become members of Congress are generally more focused on bread and butter domestic issues — such as health care, the economy and the environment.

But Rohrabacher is different. Opponents on his left and right are leveraging his long-standing calls for closer relations with Russia as one of the primary issues in their campaign, now that Russian attempts to influence American politics are a flashpoint.

Rohrabacher won the Republican primary in June and will face Democrat Harley Rouda in November's general election. The Rohrabacher seat widely is seen as one Democrats could pick up in the House-- with Russia being a key issue.

How might all of this connect to Carol and me? That, of course, remains unclear. But this much is clear: We have practiced aggressive journalism in two states -- Alabama and Missouri -- where key politicos are known to have ties with Russia. And the Philando Castille case proves that Russian meddling is not limited to those with fame or political power.


Anonymous said...

Greitens is a grifter, and he should be in prison.

Anonymous said...

Greitens is just Trump with a little military crap on his resume to help con the public.

Anonymous said...

Rohrabacher has never even tried to hide his ties to Russia. No telling how much money he has made from kissing up to Putin.

Anonymous said...

Why have the charges against Greitens fallen away just because he resigned from office? His whole con game needs to be investigated, and he needs to be prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

Bentley is the "Luv Guv," and Greitens is the "S & M Guv."

Anonymous said...

Democrats might as well hang it up if they can't beat Rohrabacher in November

Anonymous said...

Rohrabacher was a Russian ass-kissing Republican before that was cool.

A real trend-setter.

legalschnauzer said...

Entire West Virginia Supreme Court might be impeached:

e.a.f. said...

excellent questions given the Russians are now ramping things up for the upcoming mid terms. We may never know how they impacted the primaries either. The Russians won't have to fight a war to take over the U.S.A. They only had to pay off Republicans. Nice work, no damage to the infrastructure and the citizens actually think they are still are in control.

Americans need to see this up coming election not as a Republican Democrat election but as how do you want to see your country in the future: Run by Russians or Americans? And given the Support Russia is giving Saudi Arabia in their fight with Canada over our government's comments on human rights in Saudi Arabia, you might want to ask how much influence do you want Saudi Arabia to have over American Industry. They already own the Port of Los angeles, which they took over approx. 20 or so years ago.

Because one of our cabinet ministers, Freeland, suggested better treatment of human rights advocates, they have dumped their stock in Canadian business, closed their embassy, tossed our Ambassador out of their country, taken their students out of our country, etc. Not that I mind, now those places in universities and medical schools can be taken by Canadians and immigrants who want to stay here. What Saudi Arabia is doing to Canada, they have previously done to Sweden and Germany when the criticised the Saudi human rights record. So if you're wondering why the U.S.A. never condemns Saudi Arabia for their human rights record, its because they too own too much of your country.

Although Trump and the Republicans carry on about immigrants and illegal immigrants they don't seem to care that Saudi's own so much of their country or that the Communist Chinese and Japan own so much of your national debt. That is the really scary thing, in my opinion. Americans don't own their country, other nasty countries do.

As much that is made about Iran, remember they never sent jets into the Towers on 911, it were Saudi's and Bin Laden, Saudi. At least Iran holds elections. As to exporting terrorism, Saudi does it even more than Iran and who is bombing the shit out of Yemen? Saudi Arabia. We condemn Syria, but nothing about Saudi ARabia, who killed another couple of dozen children in Yemen today.

Yes, there is corruption all over the U.S.A. But what is worrying about the corruption is in my opinion that it involves unfriendly countries in your political affairs. Good old fashioned corruption, internally is one thing, when it involves unfriendlies, I'd suggest treason is a better term.

it is interesting to note, that when Trump was asked about the Saudi's attacks on Canada, his response was, it had nothing to do with the U.S.A. yet, it was Canada who took in thousands upon thousands of americans when 911 hit, all those American jets landed in Canada and in some communities they rallied to look after them.

Given Trump's attitude towards Canada, none of this surprises me. My take is, no NATO country can depend upon the U.S.A in the future. rump has clearly, along with the rest of the republicans made their choice, their friends are Russia and Saudi Arabia and how ever much Trump may vilify China, all their friends' factories, including his own still operate in China.

Anonymous said...

What's the latest on the lawsuit that had former Governor Bentley giving that excellent (in a Beavis and Butthead kind of way) deposition?

What about his "office manager"? I wonder if she will be deposed like Bentley.

Deposed! heh heh heh heh heh

Appreciate your efforts to keep us up to date on all the Alabama dirt.

Anonymous said...


Just googled Bentley.

Not the Onion!

"Former Governor Robert Bentley, who resigned in 2017 as part of plea deal related to ethics and campaign finance violations, isn't ruling out a return to public life.

In an interview with political site Yellowhammer, Bentley was asked if would consider returning to public office, possibly in the U.S. Senate race against Democrat Doug Jones in 2020.

Bentley responded:

"I love serving the people of this state. Serving as governor was the greatest honor of my life. I have a heart for our people and I believe we are all called to serve one another in some capacity. I found public service was a way to do that. I believe what is missing in public service today is loving the people that you serve and wanting to help those who need help, especially those who are less fortunate and really have nothing. If God shows me a new avenue where I can do that, I'll do it.""

Anonymous said...

Three for the price of one.

No shame in this motherfucker's game!

Scandal-tarnished ex-governor touts record on new website
by Associated Press August 9 at 6:12 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is attempting to revive his battered reputation on social media after his administration ended in scandal.

The ex-governor has launched a “Bentley for Alabama” website, promoting his six-year record in office — and reactivated his social media accounts to assist the effort. The website discusses positive achievements such as his promise to not take a state paycheck until the unemployment rate significantly declined.

Bentley told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he started the site as “a historic record of our administration.”

“Bentley for Alabama is a continuation of the hard work that was done by everyone in my administration. The initiatives we started are so important and this is a way for us to keep issues like job creation, Pre-K Expansion and rebuilding prisons in the forefront,” Bentley wrote in an email."

Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of the above's comments. All of this railing against immigrants is just to make people think he's against immigration, but all one has to do is go to TJ Maxx or Wal-Mart and it is clear that for all of the hype about ICE raids and children being separated from their parents at the border, nothing is being done about immigration. Not really anything effective that is.

legalschnauzer said...

My understanding is that part of Bentley's plea agreement is that he would not seek public office in the future. Is there something about that he sees as unclear, that he doesn't understand? Seems pretty clear cut. What do you think.

legalschnauzer said...

Yellowhammer News quoted a former prosecutor saying he thought Bentley could run despite the plea agreement. Not sure how the guy figures that. The prosecutor goes on to admit violating the plea agreement could be grounds for re-opening a criminal investigation. From YH:

Yet, if Gov. Bentley reneges on the plea agreement, could the prosecution do the same and revisit dropped charges?

“That’s a really good question,” White admits.

“There might be other documents that I haven’t seen, but I would’ve thought it would’ve been in [the publicly available plea agreement] stating that if this is violated, then [the prosecution] can bring back charges,” he explained. “It obviously doesn’t say that.”

Anonymous said...

Three for the price of one again.

"What do you think."

I'm staying with what I said earlier: No shame in this motherfucker's game!

Bentley either is wired up different than the average politician, or possibly has suffered some form of brain injury.

Either way, I'm sure his family is proud to be used (featured prominently) in his reputation rehabilitation campaign, but where is his former wife of 50 years? Is she back on board the Bentley crazy train again? If so, I must have missed seeing her picture on his resurrected (obligatory biblical reference in case the old coot is following your activities again) instagram account.

Meantime, I hope that office of his is managed as well as one might expect. For the money he claimed to be paying her in that deposition he ought to be smiling like a clam digger when he's at work!

Anonymous said...

eaf:: very very eloquent. very well said. very disturbing to read it all in one place. very effective. thank you.

legalschnauzer said...

Mother Jones has published its list of the most vulnerable Trump clones in Congress. Guess who is No. 1:

e.a.f. said...

ah bentley, omg that was funny, a new political career. who knows perhaps he thinks he will get a pardon. now if those offenses were federal perhaps dtrump can give him one. if its state, who knows, I don't know if states pardon or not, being canadian. if bentley lost a lot of money in his divorce he may be looking at the website as a way of making more money while he rehabilitates himself. we all remember that old Gobbells line of tell a big enough lie, long enough.. they'll believe it. I'm sure if the republicans think they can unseat Jones, they'd run bentley and see what happens. Given what I've learnt about Albama law practises on this blog I would not be surprised if everyone "forgot" about the deal.

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. --

Bentley signed a plea agreement where he would not seek or serve in public office. Some have wondered if Bentley chooses to ignore the terms of plea agreement if prosecutors can do the same and open up a criminal investigation on his old, shriveled ass.

The terms of of that plea agreement seem clear, but the old coot has shown signs, for a while, that he has lost his marbles.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone actually seen the Bentley "Get out of government to stay out of jail" deal?

IANAL but it seems that inquiring minds would want to know whether or not his plea agreement either functionally or explicitly tolled the statute of limitations for any or all of the crimes he is alleged to have committed.

It would seem that he could not face consequences once he is beyond the statutes of limitation. Again, IANAL.