Private sources paid $325k in travel for Greitens last year


Gov. Eric Greitens, left, talks to south county resident and former Rep. Earlene Judd in St. Louis County the day before he was inaugurated earlier this year. Photo by Gloria Lloyd.

By Max Fillion
Columbia Missourian

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Eric Greitens received nearly $325,000 in travel and lodging support last year, according to a report his office filed this month with the Missouri Ethics Commission. All the funding came from private sources, not taxpayer dollars.

Greitens listed the Republican Governors Association as his most expensive reason for travel — he received more than $106,000 in support for trips to Utah, Florida, Colorado, Texas and Virginia. Greitens resigned from his post on the executive committee of the Republican Governors Association in February after he was indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge in St. Louis.

Coming in second were trade missions, for which Greitens received $93,188 in support for trips to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Greitens’ wife, Sheena, had one trip included in that figure: a trip to Korea and China that cost $21,745 while she accompanied the governor’s trade delegation.

Some reported trips had split reasons. For example, a $40,000 trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, and trips to Springfield, Missouri, and Dulles, Virginia were listed as “Republican Jewish Coalition Conference & Republican/National Governors Association Events (gross travel costs).”

The funding for these trips came from a variety of sources, including a major GOP donor. According to the Personal Financial Disclosure form Greitens filed May 1 with the state ethics commission, a private transit construction company paid more than $89,000 for four of the governor’s trips.

Stanley Herzog, a notable GOP donor to Republicans across the country, sits on the board of that company. He personally donated $2,600 to Greitens’ campaign in 2017, while his railroad company donated several hundred thousand dollars in the months leading up to Greitens’ 2016 election, according to campaign-finance reports from the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Also on the board is Todd Graves, an attorney who serves as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. Graves’ brother, Sam, serves as a U.S. representative for the state’s 6th Congressional District.

The governor also received about $85,000 in travel from the Hawthorn Foundation, a company that has sponsored governors’ trade trips in the past.

Greitens’ spokesman Parker Briden did not return a request for comment.