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Donors behind $2M check to Missouri's Greitens still secret

FILE - In this Sept. 30, 2016 file photo, Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens speaks during the first general election debate in the race for Missouri governor at the Missouri Press Association convention in Branson, Mo. Greitens faces Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster in the November general election. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
October 17, 2016 - 3:43 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A mysterious political action committee that gave nearly $2 million to Missouri's Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens remains shrouded in secrecy after a recent Federal Election Commission report revealed little about its sole donor.

The report filed Friday showed super PAC SEALs for Truth is funded by American Policy Coalition, Inc. — another mystery group. The committee did not immediately respond to requests for comment submitted Monday by The Associated Press. The website americanpolicycoalition.com shows a logo and no other information.

The super PAC has fallen under scrutiny for not disclosing the individuals behind the money it has funneled into this year's gubernatorial election between Greitens and Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster. SEALs for Truth avoided reporting its donors before a contentious, four-way Republican primary Greitens won in August through a procedural quirk, leaving voters in the dark about the sources behind the donation.

Missouri law requires political donations of more than $5,000 to be reported online within 48 hours. Federal law also requires PACs to disclose who cuts them checks, such as American Policy Coalition Inc. But committees don't need to provide details beyond that to shed light on what interests are seeking to influence politics.

The more than $1.9 million contribution to Greitens' campaign in July broke records at the time as the biggest single donation in Missouri history, although it's since been overshadowed by bigger seven-figure checks to Greitens.

Greitens' campaign manager Austin Chambers told AP in an email that the candidate was not available to comment Monday. Chambers did not directly answer AP questions about SEALs for Truth and American Policy Coalition Inc., but stressed the campaign has received support in Missouri and across the country.

During a question-and-answer session with Missouri Farm Bureau members in August, Greitens responded to a member question about the donation by describing the committee as an example of "SEALs around this country who have stepped forward to support me."

"I come from a world where when people say that they're going to have your back, they have your back," Greitens said during the event. "And the SEALs got together — SEALS and Naval Special Warfare, also SWCCs, Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen — they got together and said we're going to support Eric."

Koster spokesman David Turner in a Saturday statement said Greitens is "running a campaign with no regard for ethics or integrity." He criticized the Republican's frequent pledge to fight corruption in Jefferson City as "a complete and utter joke."

Greitens also has received millions of dollars from the Republican Governors Association since he won the primary.

The group gave Greitens $2.5 million on Monday, and last week cut two checks for $4 million and $1 million to support Greitens' campaign.

The latest campaign finance reports showed Greitens trailed Koster with only about $2.7 million in cash to the Democrat's roughly $6.6 million at the end of September. Greitens raised about $4.2 million total from the end of August through September, while Koster brought in about $3.3 million.

Both candidates are blowing through millions of dollars in the final weeks of the campaign, much of that going toward advertising. Reports show Greitens spent $4.7 million in that time period, of which close to $4 million went to media. Koster used about $4.9 million for advertising of the roughly $6.2 million he spent total.

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Associated Press writer David A. Lieb contributed to this report.

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This story has been corrected to show political donations of more than $5,000, not $5,000 and over, must be reported online within 48 hours.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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