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House committee subpoenas bank for financial records tied to Greitens nonprofit

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens has subpoenaed financial records from an Illinois bank related to a nonprofit founded by Greitens' political team.

Court records filed in Cole County reveal that the House committee has demanded that Carrollton Bank provide all records relating to the nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc., which was formed in early 2017 to advocate for the governor's agenda.The subpoena also asks the bank to turn over all records relating to a committee for a New Missouri Inc., which was created in late 2016 to raise money for Greitens’ inauguration.

Both groups allowed Greitens' team to raise anonymous donations from individuals and corporations. The governor's reliance on so-called "dark money" contributions has drawn public condemnation for secrecy, even from some of Greitens’ fellow Republicans, although the practice is legal.

The bank’s CEO, Tom Hough, confirmed Monday that the bank received a subpoena from the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight.

Hough said Carrollton Bank, through its attorney, is in contact about the subpoena with legal counsel for A New Missouri.

"Carrollton Bank will respond to the subpoena when the legal process is complete," Hough said.

The subpoena is referenced in court filings in a May 9 letter by attorney Catherine Hanaway, who represents the Greitens campaign.

Neither Hanaway nor Aaron Baker, a spokesman for the governor's defense team, responded to request for comment on Monday.

In the letter, Hanaway argued that the House’s subpoena for records from Carrollton Bank “failed to meet the necessary procedural requirements.”

She noted that “no allegation of misconduct has been made by any law enforcement authority or the House Committee against A New Missouri” so the records are not relevant.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe says the dismissal of a felony charge against Gov. Eric Greitens in St. Louis won't affect proceedings in the Missouri legislature.

Hanaway also complained that the subpoena raises privacy and constitutional issues because it could expose information about donors who had expected their contributions would not be publicly disclosed or provided to the government.

As a political nonprofit, A New Missouri “has no duty to disclose its donors,” Hanaway wrote. “Both the donors and the entities have a First Amendment Interest in keeping donor identities private.”

If Carrollton Bank were to comply with the subpoena as written, she wrote, “its production would be unlawful” under Missouri’s Right to Financial Privacy Act.

She said disclosing the bank’s financial records to the House committee would disclose “sensitive donor information and violate the organization and donor’s freedom of political association, speech and the communication of ideas.”

A copy of Hanaway’s letter was included as part of a petition by the House committee on Thursday that asked the court to enforce its subpoena for financial records from Carrollton Bank and other subpoenas issued May 4 to A New Missouri as well as Greitens’ campaign.

Carrollton Bank is a family-owned, privately held bank with locations in Missouri and Illinois. Mark Bobak, a close adviser and major donor to the governor, is a board member of both the bank and its holding company, CBX Corp.

When Greitens and his wife bought a lake house in Innsbrook, Mo., last year, Carollton Bank issued the $675,000 mortgage.

Public documents show that J&J Escape, Greitens' limited liability company, purchased the $750,000 house on Feb. 17, 2017.

The House committee is not looking into the mortgage or J&J Escape.