Politics & Government

Pence's chief of staff sells consulting firm to GOP 'kingmaker'

Legislators react to report on Greitens, charity donor list

A new report contains allegations that Gov. Eric Greitens lied about and misused a charity donor list.
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A new report contains allegations that Gov. Eric Greitens lied about and misused a charity donor list.

Nick Ayers, the vice president's chief of staff, sold his political consulting company's assets last month to Phil Cox, a Republican operative who succeeded him as executive director of the Republican Governors Association.

Ayers was the founder of C5 Creative Consulting, a political consulting firm incorporated in Georgia.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens' campaign was a C5 client during the 2016 campaign, and Ayers was his top consultant.

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Records with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office show that C5 was dissolved as a corporation via electronic filing at 9:09 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Later that day, the Missouri House of Representatives released a scathing investigative report about Greitens, alleging that he knowingly falsified a settlement document with the state ethics committee, a class A misdemeanor.

Ayers recused himself from running the firm when he went to work for Vice President Mike Pence in July 2017, according to Pence's office.

But he didn't sell it until after the Office of Government Ethics had certified Ayers' financial disclosure form on Feb. 4, 2018 — and notified Ayers that he should divest himself of C5 and one other company, Family Capital Management Short Duration LLC, to to comply with White House ethics standards.

A new report contains allegations that Gov. Eric Greitens lied about and misused a charity donor list.

On March 30, Ayers and his wife Jamie Ayers signed an agreement to sell all assets of C5 Creative Consulting to GuidePost Strategies LLC and CS Strategies LLC, according to documents shown to a reporter by the vice president's office. The sale price is not public.

Once the assets were sold, the C5 board voted to dissolve the company on April 25. Jamie Ayers signed a notice of intent to dissolve C5 the next day, but it wasn't electronically filed with the Georgia secretary of state until Wednesday.

In June 2016, Ayers and Cox reportedly were in talks with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to set up a Donald Trump super PAC, but that didn't end up happening.

Cox is the chief executive officer of GuidePost Strategies, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. He did not respond to a request for comment. In the biography on the firm's website, he notes how the Washington Times called him "a Republican kingmaker."

The GuidePost Strategies website describes Cox "one of the nation’s most experienced political operatives" and states that he has directed "more than 100 campaigns in nearly every state and every level, including a presidential super PAC and campaigns for U.S. Senate, House, and Governor."

Cox also serves on the board of the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund. He worked on the campaign of Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell before serving as RGA executive director between 2011 and 2014.

Ayers preceded him in the job, serving as executive director of RGA between 2007 and 2011.

Austin Chambers, a top aide to Greitens, worked for C5 until its dissolution this week. He told The Kansas City Star he joined CS Strategies during the asset purchase of C5 at the end of March.

CS Strategies is based in Washington, D.C., and was founded by Cox in March, Chambers said in an email.

Chambers serves as Greitens’ senior political adviser and runs his nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc.