So far as Missouri’s governor, Eric Greitens has correctly attacked tax breaks for sports owners, tax credits and unethical lawmakers. Wait, hold that last thought.
It turns out the self-proclaimed Republican champion on that issue is having big trouble living up to his promises to drain the ethical swamp in Jefferson City.
As The Kansas City Star’s Jason Hancock reports here, people on both sides of the political divide are concerned by Greitens’ refusal to tell the public who contributed to his lavish inauguration earlier this month.
GOP state Sen. Rob Schaaf put it well: “Dark money has the potential for corruption. Sunshine helps disinfect. The reason we make people disclose is to prevent corruption.”
But Greitens is stuck in the shadows. A nonprofit formed for his inauguration expenses allows donors to remain a secret. Also hidden from the public: How much money they funneled to Greitens’ nonprofit and how much he spent of it and on what.
My favorite sentence in the story: “Greitens did not respond to repeated requests for comment.”
What do you have to hide, Eric? Whenever an elected official refuses to tell the public what’s going on, that’s a big, flashing warning sign.
The Star’s story details a litany of chances Greitens has blown in recent months to be more transparent with Missourians on a variety of other financial matters. Greitens benefited from millions of dollars of “dark money” poured into his campaigns, which meant he did not have to tell Missourians who helped get him elected.
Yes he could have told them, but he didn’t.
The governor’s boyish charms that helped put him in charge of Missouri government over the more experienced and capable Chris Koster are already wearing thin. His State of the State was weak; now we’re waiting to see what kind of budget he can propose in February.
Greitens in Month One of his governorship is looking more and more like all of the unethical politicians he mocked in the 2016 campaign.