Eric Greitens

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Eric Greitens
Eric Greitens 2018 (cropped).jpg
Greitens in 2017
56th Governor of Missouri
In office
January 9, 2017 – June 1, 2018
LieutenantMike Parson
Preceded byJay Nixon
Succeeded byMike Parson
Personal details
Eric Robert Greitens

(1974-04-10) April 10, 1974 (age 48)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (2015–present)
Other political
Democratic (before 2015)
Rebecca Wright
(m. 2000; div. 2003)
(m. 2011; div. 2020)
EducationDuke University (BA)
Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford (MPhil, DPhil)
Civilian awardsPresident's Volunteer Service Award
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service2001–present
RankUS-O4 insignia.svg Lieutenant commander
UnitUnited States Navy Special Warfare insignia.png U.S. Navy SEALs
U.S. Navy Reserve
Battles/warsIraq War
War in Afghanistan
Military awardsBronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
Joint Service Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Complete list of decorations

Eric Robert Greitens (/ˈɡrtənz/;[1] born April 10, 1974) is an American politician, author, and former Navy SEAL who was the 56th governor of Missouri from January 2017 until his resignation in June 2018 amid allegations of sexual assault and campaign finance impropriety.[2][3]

Born and raised in St. Louis, Greitens graduated from Duke University in 1996 and received a doctorate from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, as a Rhodes scholar in 2000. During his four tours of duty as a U.S. Navy SEAL officer, he rose to the rank of lieutenant commander, commanded a unit targeting Al-Qaeda, and was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. Later, after being a White House fellow, Greitens founded a nonprofit organization, The Mission Continues, to benefit veterans. In 2013, Time included him in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

A Democrat during his early life, Greitens announced in 2015 that he had become a Republican. He ran for governor of Missouri as a Republican in 2016. Greitens prevailed over three opponents in the Republican primary and then defeated Democratic Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster in the general election. He was Missouri's first Jewish governor.[4][5] One of Greitens's signature accomplishments in office was signing Missouri's right-to-work law,[6] which was later repealed by statewide referendum.[7]

In February 2018, Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy and later with campaign-related offenses. He was indicted on felony charges of computer tampering in April 2018;[8] all charges were dropped in May 2018. Greitens resigned from office on June 1, 2018,[9] after the Missouri General Assembly commenced a special session to consider impeachment.[10] In February 2020, the Missouri Ethics Commission reported that its campaign investigation did not find wrongdoing on Greitens's part individually, or that he knew of two reporting issues that it found with his campaign.[11] Also in early 2018, Greitens's former hairdresser accused him of sexual assault. A bipartisan Special Investigative Committee in the Missouri state legislature found the woman "overall credible" and issued a report on the incident.[12]

On March 22, 2021, Greitens announced his candidacy for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring incumbent Roy Blunt in the 2022 election.[13]

Early life and education[edit]

Eric Greitens was born on April 10, 1974, in St. Louis, Missouri, to Becky and Rob Greitens.[14] Greitens's mother was a special education teacher and his father was an accountant for the Missouri Department of Agriculture.[14] His mother is Jewish and his father is Catholic, and Greitens was raised as a Jew.[15][16] He grew up as a Democrat.[17] Greitens graduated from Parkway North High School in 1992.

After high school, Greitens majored in ethics, philosophy, and public policy at Duke University. He graduated in 1996 with an A.B. summa cum laude.[18] Greitens won a Harry S. Truman Scholarship and was selected as a Rhodes scholar,[19][20][21] which allowed him to pursue graduate studies at Oxford University. He was a member of Lady Margaret Hall and studied development studies, receiving a M.Phil. in 1998 and a Ph.D. in 2000.[22]


Greitens is a sub-three-hour marathon runner and a winner of Shamrock Marathon at Camp Fallujah, Iraq. A boxer, he won two Oxford University Boxing Blues and the gold medal at the British Universities Sports Association's National Boxing Championships.[23] Greitens has a black belt in Taekwondo.[24]

Humanitarian work[edit]

Greitens has done international humanitarian work in Rwanda, Cambodia, Albania, Mexico, India, the Gaza Strip, Croatia, and Bolivia.[25] During his 2016 campaign for governor, he said, "I have worked in Cambodia with kids who lost limbs to land mines and are survivors of polio. I've worked in Bolivia with children of the street. I've worked in one of Mother Teresa's homes for the destitute and dying."[26]

For six weeks as a college student, Greitens worked at two refugee camps, the Puntizela camp outside Pula, Croatia, and the Gasinci camp outside Osijek, Croatia. Both are described in his book. Refugee camps in Croatia were temporary homes for Bosnians crossing the border.[27] Greitens also traveled to Rwanda and Zaire as a volunteer U.N. photographer.[28]

Early career[edit]

Greitens has taught public service at the Truman School of Public Affairs and was an adjunct professor of business ethics in the MBA program at the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis.[23][29][30]

Armed services[edit]

Greitens matriculated at the United States Navy's Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, in January 2001, graduating in May of that year as an ensign in the United States Navy Reserve.[31][32] He then began Basic Underwater Demolitions/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California,[33][34] graduating with Class 237 in February 2002.[35]

Greitens rose to be a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy Reserve. During his active duty career, he was deployed four times, to Iraq, Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa, and Southeast Asia. He was the commander of a joint special operations task unit, a Mark V Special Operations Craft detachment,[36] and an al-Qaeda targeting cell.[37] He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Combat Action Ribbon.[38][39] In 2011 the Association of the U.S. Navy named Greitens its Naval Reserve Junior Officer of the Year.[40]

He has criticized the Veterans Administration, saying of its employees, "Even if you're only 40 percent disabled, they'll give you 100 percent disability in some cases." "You have to think about the incentives of government workers. Guys in the VA don't get paid to help veterans lead productive lives. Their metrics are on how many people sign up for benefits." He feels such overuse strains the VA system and prevents vets from reintegrating into general society.[38]

During a deployment in Thailand, Greitens learned of drug use by Navy personnel and initiated an investigation that led to their removal. In the Philippines, his crew effectively shut down a transit site for a terrorist organization, according to an evaluation report.[28] Greitens spent three months in charge of a 50-person unit in Manda Bay, Kenya, near the Somali border.

White House fellowship[edit]

In 2005, Greitens left full-time active duty to take a one-year White House fellowship.[41] Appointed by President George W. Bush, Greitens developed a program to get architecture and engineering students involved in rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina.[42] He simultaneously remained in the Navy Reserves, leading a program that recruited high-level advisers for special military operations worldwide.[28] As a White House fellow, he worked in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)[43] and developed a new program to assist with rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Katrina: the Universities Rebuilding America Partnership (URAP),[44] a $5.6 million effort to engage architecture and engineering students in the effort to rebuild New Orleans. During Greitens's time as a White House fellow, he co-founded the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Program.[45] After his fellowship, he volunteered for a six-month tour in Iraq that began in October 2006.[42]

Fallujah truck bombing[edit]

During that six-month tour, on March 28, 2007, two suicide bombers detonated trucks carrying chlorine gas at the Fallujah government complex where Greitens and other military personnel were sleeping. The attack was the seventh chlorine bombing in the Al Anbar province of Iraq by Al-Qaeda. Greitens was among about 15 who were wounded.[42] "The attack began at 6:33 a.m. with mortar fire, followed by two truck bombs and small arms fire. Iraqi Police identified the first suicide attacker and fired on the truck, causing it to detonate before reaching the compound", according to a Multinational Forces West press release. "Iraqi Army soldiers spotted the second suicide truck approaching the gate and engaged it with small arms fire, causing it to also detonate near the entrance of the compound."[46] Greitens received a Purple Heart after sustaining injuries from the bombing.[47]

Nonprofit work[edit]

Greitens speaking in 2011

After returning from Iraq, Greitens used his combat pay and the disability pay of two friends to start The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to "challenge veterans to serve and lead in communities across America".[48] It encourages veterans to heal themselves through public service by engaging in volunteer organizations across the country.[49][50] In 2014 it won the CLASSY Award for its effectiveness in active-duty and veteran services.[51] Greitens stepped down as CEO in July 2014 and resigned from the board of directors in 2015.[52][53][54][55][56]

As CEO of The Mission Continues, Greitens worked without a salary in 2007–08. Later he received compensation between $150,000 and $200,000.[57] Daniel Borochoff, president and founder of CharityWatch, which evaluates nonprofit organizations, said that Greitens's wages "seem within a reasonable range"; the AP reported that his salary was about one-third higher than the $131,000 median compensation for chief executives of 237 medium-sized charities in the Midwest.[58] In a 2016 interview, Borochoff cited Greitens's PhD and military experience as a possible reason for his slightly above-average salary.[59]

Greitens and a U.S. Marine with The Mission Continues in 2012

In 2011 New Profit added The Mission Continues to its portfolio of the fastest-growing and highest-impact nonprofits in the sector.[60] The Associated Press reported in March 2018 that Greitens had used the charity's email account to arrange political meetings about his gubernatorial campaign, which is not allowed by federal tax law.[61] He was also accused of using the charity's list of donors to raise money for his campaign, a violation of campaign finance law.[62] On December 28, 2018, The Kansas City Star reported that the Missouri attorney general had dropped the investigation against the nonprofit.[63]

In July 2018 The Mission Continues president Spencer Kympton posted an open letter informing its members that "Regardless of someone's history with The Mission Continues, we do not stand by actions that violate the core values we all strive to embody. And as uncomfortable as it may be, we must not fail to pronounce that." The letter also apologized to the volunteers and community leaders with The Mission Continues for any unwarranted attention from media and civic leaders they experienced.[64]

From 2010 to 2012, Washington University in St. Louis's Center for Social Development, in collaboration with The Mission Continues, conducted a study involving nearly 500 veterans in more than 400 nonprofit organizations in 42 states. Its aim was to assess the perceived personal, social and family impacts of participating in the organization's fellowship program.[65] "The results show that volunteering with the Mission Continues can help vets reengage in their communities and can increase their well-being", wrote Nancy Morrow-Howell, co-author and faculty associate, Center for Social Development, Washington University.[66]


Greitens with U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis in March 2017

Greitens's first book, Strength and Compassion (2008), is a collection of photographs and essays with a foreword by Rwandan humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina and an introduction by Bobby Muller, cofounder of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.[67][68] Photographs by Greitens were placed on display in the exhibition "Strength and Compassion" at the International Photography Hall of Fame (IPHF) in December 2014.[69] Strength and Compassion was recognized as ForeWord magazine's Photography Book of the Year and the grand prize winner of the 2009 New York Book Festival.[40]

On April 11, 2011, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published Greitens's second book, The Heart and the Fist: The Education of a Humanitarian, the Making of a Navy SEAL.[70][71] The Heart and the Fist is Greitens's memoir, featuring stories of his humanitarian work, his training as a naval officer and SEAL and the military experiences that led him to adopt the philosophy that one has to be strong to do good but also has to do good to be strong. The book ranked 10th on The New York Times bestseller list for hardcover nonfiction in May 2011,[72][73] debuting on the St. Louis Independent Bookstore Alliance Best Sellers list at No. 1 for the week of April 17, 2011.[74] The next year, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt also released a young adult edition, The Warrior's Heart.[75]

In March 2015 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released Greitens's book Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life. It draws on letters Greitens wrote to a fellow SEAL struggling with PTSD.[76][77]

As an author and former SEAL, Greitens was a popular speaker before his political career.[30] In 2016 an anonymous group charged in a YouTube video that he had exaggerated his record and was unduly benefiting from his time in the SEALs; Greitens responded by releasing his military records and publishing a video he uploaded to his channel with testimonials from SEALs and Marines with whom he had served.[78]

Political career[edit]

Governor of Missouri[edit]

In 2015, Greitens—a Democrat in his early years—wrote a Fox News editorial announcing that he had become a Republican. He said he had been raised in the tradition of Harry Truman and had even been recruited as a Democratic candidate for Congress, but was pushed rightward after seeing the Department of Veterans Affairs fail to help many of his brothers in arms. He recalled being angered at how the Democrats' only solution was to "spend more money" on the VA. "The problem is that most Democrats seem to think more money and bigger government are the solutions to virtually every single problem", he wrote. He said he believed Democrats no longer had the right ideas to stand up for the middle class.[17]

2016 election[edit]

Gubernatorial election campaign logo

On September 26, 2015, Greitens announced his candidacy for governor of Missouri[79] as a Republican.[80] Shortly after a June 30, 2016, quarterly deadline for filing campaign contributions, he received the largest ever single contribution in a Missouri campaign, $1.975 million, which meant he did not have to reveal it until October, months after the primary. The source was a previously unknown Superpac, "SEALS for Truth".[81] SEALS for Truth had received the money from the American Policy Coalition (APC), another Superpac, on the same day APC received the entire amount. Greitens had assured voters he intended to increase transparency while reducing corruption in state politics as a campaign focus.[82] APC, about which there was almost no information online, was headed by Ohio lawyer David Langdon, who had incorporated it in Kentucky in 2015.[82] Between the 2010 election cycle and early 2015, at least 11 groups connected to Langdon spent at least $22 million on ballot initiatives against abortion and same-sex marriage and on federal and state elections around the country, as tabulated by the Center for Public Integrity.[83] On March 12, 2017, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Kansas City Star editorial boards published a joint editorial criticizing Greitens for "secret fundraising and secret spending" and for tactics such as ordering that "[s]ecurity staffers block reporters from getting close to him".[84] In 2018 Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, announced the opening of an investigation of Greitens's 2016 campaign financing.[85]

Greitens won the August 2 Republican primary with 236,250 votes (34.6%) to businessman John Brunner's 169,425 (24.8%), Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder's 141,498 (20.7%), and former Speaker Catherine Hanaway's 136,350 (19.9%).[86][87] Democrat-turned-Republican Greitens faced Republican-turned-Democrat Chris Koster in the general election on November 8, 2016, and won with 51.3% of the vote to Koster's 45.4%.[88]

On April 28, 2017, the Missouri Ethics Commission fined Greitens's campaign $1,000 for violating state campaign ethics rules regarding campaign disclosure. Greitens did not contest the fine.[89]

2016 Republican Primary for Governor of Missouri[90]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Eric Greitens 236,481 34.56
Republican John Brunner 169,620 24.79
Republican Peter Kinder 141,629 20.70
Republican Catherine Hanaway 136,521 19.95
2016 Missouri Gubernatorial Election[91]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Eric Greitens 1,424,730 51.3
Democratic Chris Koster 1,261,110 45.4


Governor Greitens and DPS Director Drew Juden brief reporters during Winter Storm Jupiter at the State Emergency Operation Center on January 12, 2017.

Greitens's cabinet began service on January 9, 2017, when he was inaugurated as the 56th governor of Missouri. Director of the Department of Corrections Anne Precythe was the first member of his cabinet, appointed on December 21, 2016. All but three members of his cabinet were confirmed by the Missouri Senate by the end of predecessor Jay Nixon's administration. Rob Dixon, Steve Corsi, and Anna Hui served as acting director of Economic Development, acting director of Social Services, and acting director of Labor and Industrial Relations, respectively, before being confirmed. The Greitens administration had a majority female cabinet.

Cabinet Position Name Appointment Date
Administrator of the Office of Administration Sarah Steelman January 6, 2017
Director of the Department of Agriculture Chris Chinn December 27, 2017
Director of the Department of Corrections Anne Precythe December 21, 2016
Director of the Department of Natural Resources Carol Comer January 18, 2017
Director of the Department of Public Safety Charles Juden January 2, 2017
Director of the Department of Revenue Joel Walters February 14, 2017
Director of the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration Chlora Lindely-Myers February 14, 2017
Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services Randall W. Williams February 9, 2017
Director of the Department of Economic Development Rob Dixon June 2, 2017
Director of the Department of Social Services Steve Corsi May 19, 2017
Director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Anna Hui March 30, 2017


First year[edit]

A B-2 stealth bomber flies over the Inauguration of Governor Eric Greitens on January 9, 2017, in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Greitens took office as governor on January 9, 2017. His first two executive orders banned employees in the executive branch from accepting gifts from lobbyists and froze all new regulations through February 2017. He remained opposed to accepting a federal Medicaid expansion in Missouri.[93] In November 2018 a statewide referendum put heavy restrictions on lobbyist gifts, virtually banning them.[94]

On February 6, 2017, Greitens signed a bill making Missouri the 28th right-to-work state.[6] In response, unions that opposed the law filed a referendum to overturn it,[95] and on August 7, 2018, Missouri voters voted to overturn the right-to-work law.[7]

In February 2017, 170 gravestones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Jewish Cemetery in University City, Missouri, were toppled and overturned.[96][97] The vandalism drew national attention and occurred during a period when anonymous threats were being made against Jewish institutions nationwide.[97] Greitens responded to the vandalism by announcing that he would lead a cleanup at the site. Greitens, who is Jewish, posted on Facebook a request for volunteers to help him clean up the cemetery.[98] On February 27, 2017, Vice President Mike Pence was already in Missouri for a small business roundtable, where he toured a small business in Fenton with Greitens, and he accepted Greitens's offer to join the cleanup efforts.[99] The St. Louis Jewish Light reported, "the governor and vice president made their remarks atop a flatbed truck on a path inside the cemetery."[99] CNN reported that President Donald Trump called Greitens to "thank the people of Missouri for standing up in the fight against anti-Semitism."[97]

On August 22, 2017, Greitens granted a stay of execution to Marcellus Williams, who had been set to be executed that day. DNA tests, using technology unavailable at the time of the killing, on the knife used in the killing matched an unknown male, not Williams. Greitens appointed a board of five retired judges to investigate the case and recommend commutation or execution. The panel has no deadline for its report.[100][101]

Greitens meeting with Vice President Mike Pence, January 2017

On October 27, 2017, the governor's office announced that 30 women had been appointed to state boards and commissions, joining "a majority-female cabinet". Sheena Greitens had announced on October 3 that the Greitens administration would appoint 25 women in the next 25 days, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Women's Foundation of Kansas City.[102]

Judicial appointments[edit]

Greitens appointed Jackson County Circuit Judge W. Brent Powell to the Missouri Supreme Court in April 2017.[103][104] He also made the following judicial appointments: Kevin Walden was appointed Circuit Judge for the 8th Judicial Circuit; Katherine ("Katie") M. Fowler as Circuit Court Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit; Lynne R. Perkins as Associate Circuit Court Judge for the 22nd Judicial Circuit; Brouck Jacobs as Circuit Judge for the 13th Judicial Circuit; and Melissa Lawyer as Circuit Judge for the 5th Judicial Circuit.[105]

Tort reform[edit]

In 2017, Harris Insights & Analytics surveyed 1,300 corporate litigators and senior executives for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for Legal Reform. Missouri's overall state liability system ranked 49th out of 50. As part of his "More Jobs, Higher Pay" plan, Greitens pushed for more tort reform than any state in the country. In 2017 the American Tort Reform Association criticized St. Louis as the "worst Judicial Hellhole" in the country, and said "judicial hellholes" like St. Louis are known for systematically misapplying the law in ways that expand liability and ratchet up the cost of doing business in the state. Greitens signed legislation that the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America said would help improve Missouri's legal climate by curbing abuses associated with §537.065 and the time-limited demand settlement process.[106]

Other tort reform bills Greitens signed include:

  • Missouri SB31, which makes changes to the collateral source rule (paid v. billed damages) so parties can introduce only evidence of the actual cost of the medical care rendered, not the value of that care.
  • Missouri SB43, which brings standards for lawsuits in Missouri in line with 38 other states and the federal government. The bill requires the use of the "motivating factor" standard for employment discrimination cases. The "motivating factor" standard is used by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in analyzing claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Missouri SB 88, which gives veterinarians the same malpractice coverage as doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals.
Greitens speaking to Fox 4 News at the 2017 MLB Opening Day for the Kansas City Royals in April 2017.
  • Missouri HB 452, which says that, with certain exceptions, no healthcare provider shall be liable for the negligence of another entity or person who is not an employee of the healthcare provider.
  • Missouri HB153, which creates a higher standard for expert evidence, improves the reliability of expert witness testimony, and puts Missouri in line with a majority of states regarding the standard used for expert testimony.[107]
Ethics reform and government efficiency[edit]

Within an hour of his inauguration, Greitens signed an executive order banning state employees in his administration from accepting or soliciting gifts from lobbyists. The order also banned employees in the governor's office from lobbying the executive branch while Greitens was in office. The order was later loosened by Governor Mike Parson, who allowed gifts to members of the executive branch. As lieutenant governor, Parson received meals and gifts from lobbyists worth $2,752 in his first six months in office, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.[108]

Fox 2 News St. Louis accused Greitens of "lashing out against two Republican senators who didn't vote against a pay raise for themselves and other elected officials." Only Republican State Senators Denny Hoskins and Paul Wieland cast votes to allow the raise to take effect, but six other senators recused themselves and didn't vote. Greitens had personally pressured lawmakers to vote down the raise. Hoskins and Wieland described their meetings with him as tense, with Wieland in particular characterizing the meetings as intimidation and saying that he felt insulted.[109]

Greitens approved a plan to reduce the number of people who can be appointed to political positions. A 2017 Boards and Commissions Task Force report outlined ways to eliminate 439 gubernatorial appointments and cut or merge numerous state boards and commissions, more than 200 of which currently exist. The recommendations aligned with Greitens's goal to make Missouri's government smaller and reduce state regulators' reach. The report included recommendations to cut more than two dozen commissions.[110]

During his 2017 State of the State address, Greitens announced: "We found 30 cars the government didn't need, and we're getting rid of them. That's going to save Missourians over $500,000." He sold one of the state's two passenger planes used by his predecessor, Jay Nixon. The 2018 Department of Public Safety spending proposal called for a $37,000 reduction in aircraft maintenance costs due to the sale of the twin-engine, six-passenger plane.[111][112]

Greitens released funding for biodiesel facilities that was originally withheld because of concerns that state revenues could fall short. The released $4 million was the amount necessary to pay off a backlog of subsidies called for under a 2002 state law that provided incentives for biodiesel plants that began operating by 2009. Fox 2 St. Louis reported that members of the soybean industry said that releasing the incentives "helped launch the industry".[113]

Economic effect[edit]

On November 21, 2017, Greitens announced that Sedalia, Missouri, would be home to a $250 million Nucor steel-bar mill.[114] Missouri was chosen over Kansas, Nebraska, South Carolina and Florida for the facility, which created 255 jobs with a median annual salary of $65,000 in addition to 450 temporary construction jobs.[115] Missouri moved up nine spaces, from 31st to 22nd, in CNBC's annual list of America's Top States for Business, published on July 11, 2017.[116] In 2018 Missouri also had its lowest unemployment rate in 18 years.[117]

Regulatory reform[edit]

In January 2017 Greitens signed Executive Order 17-03, which froze implementation of all new regulations for over 30 days and required each agency to review its rules and remove "needless and burdensome regulations".[118] A 2017 audit of state regulations found more than seven million words of regulations on the books. Greitens declared plans to remove nearly one-third of these, equal to approximately 33,000 regulations.[119]

Greitens signed into law a bill removing regulations on ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, allowing them to work freely in Missouri. Uber said the legislation would lead to 10,000 additional jobs in the state.[120] Greitens posted on Facebook a video of himself signing the bill in a Lyft in a Taco Bell parking lot, which earned him a shout-out from Taco Bell.[121]

Senior officials in Greitens's administration supported state and national agricultural advocacy groups' efforts to rewrite the Obama Administration's "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule.[122] Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said, "we appreciate Gov. Greitens' comments to EPA asserting that the WOTUS rule was too broad an interpretation of law and that it should be redefined."[122]

In March 2017 Greitens announced that the Missouri Board of Nursing approved the Air Force's practical nurse education program. He said the agreement, designed to allow military nurses to practice in the civilian sector following military service, would be the first of its kind in the country.[123]

Hundreds of workers from southeast Missouri rally outside the Governor's Office in support of Greitens and the 2017 Steel Mill Bill.
2017 steel mill special session[edit]

Greitens supported the Missouri Steel Mill Bill, legislation that allowed utility regulators to approve lower electricity rates for industrial companies using large amounts of energy.

The legislation was drafted in response to the March 2016 Noranda smelter closure, in which nearly 900 people lost their jobs and the average household income in New Madrid County fell by $6,000.[124] During the final weeks of the regular 2017 legislative session, the Missouri House of Representatives passed an amendment by State Representative Don Rone Jr. designed to help bring industrial jobs to the state. The bill, however, was met with opposition in the Senate led by Senator Doug Libla, and ultimately failed. Greitens called a special legislative session in May 2017, bringing the Missouri General Assembly back to the Capitol one week after its regular session adjourned to pass the legislation.

Following a rally, Greitens led workers to the offices of state senators to urge them to pass the 2017 Steel Mill Bill.

"And people are sick of having to drive to Kentucky, having to drive to Tennessee, having to drive to Arkansas", Greitens said in an interview with MissouriNet. "Watching their friends have to get in trucks and go across the border to find a quality job. And we promised during the campaign we were going to fight for them."[125]

After calling the session, Greitens held rallies in Southeast Missouri in New Madrid, Poplar Bluff, Dexter and Sikeston and hosted hundreds of Bootheel residents at the Capitol for a rally urging lawmakers to approve the bill.[125] After the rally, he encouraged the crowd to join him in walking to every state senator's office. Participants taped messages to the doors of Senate offices, including phrases such as "we don't want welfare" and "bring back American jobs".[126] Rone praised Greitens, saying "we finally have a governor who knows where southeast Missouri is."[126]

Ultimately, the General Assembly passed the legislation and Greitens signed the bill into law on June 16, 2017.[127] After the special session, Magnitude 7 Metals LLC announced that the firm would restart two of the plant's three production lines, which brought over 450 jobs to the region with an average salary of $95,000, with the potential for another 900 jobs in the future.[128][129]

After the announcement, Greitens accepted an invitation to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss workforce development and job creation.[130]

2017 anti-abortion special session[edit]
Nearly a thousand supporters of the pro-life movement attend Governor Greitens' rally during the pro-life special session in June 2017.

Following the session on the Steel Mill Bill, Greitens called a second special session to pass anti-abortion legislation. He went on a statewide tour with former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and said, "we had some radical politicians in St. Louis who passed legislation to make St. Louis an abortion sanctuary city, where it would make it illegal ... for organizations like Our Lady's Inn and other pro-life groups just to hire pro-life workers. So we're out here to protect pregnancy care centers."[131] The bill also required that doctors explain the risks of abortion to a patient 72 hours before performing an abortion, called for annual inspections of abortion clinics, added new whistle-blower protections for clinic employees, and heightened requirements for pathologists who provide services to abortion facilities. Executive director of NARAL Pro Choice Missouri Alison Dreith said the session was "political theater".[132]

On July 26, 2017, Greitens signed HCS SB 5, a wide-ranging anti-abortion measure, into law.[133] Missouri Right to Life said, "We are especially grateful to Governor Greitens for calling this special session and for his support of this pro-life legislation." NRLC's state affiliate called the measure "one of the strongest pro-life bills to be passed by the Missouri Legislature in many years."[133]

In 2018 The Satanic Temple delivered oral arguments in front of the Missouri State Court Western Appellate District in an effort to challenge Greitens' anti-abortion legislation, claiming that it "violated the religious beliefs of one of its members."[134]

In September 2018 Greitens was featured in the Netflix documentary film Reversing Roe.[135]

Changes to Missouri's foster care system[edit]

In June 2017 Greitens signed Missouri's first Foster Care Bill of Rights, which outlined specific measures designed to improve the safety and quality of life of children in Missouri's foster care system.[136]

In October 2018 Greitens ordered that Missouri children in foster care no longer have to pay $15 to get copies of their birth certificates. The move was hailed as removing a key obstacle for many to apply for driver's licenses, jobs, or higher education. "For the children who are involved in this system, it's everything to them", said Colleen Polak, director of legal services for Voices for Children in St. Louis.[137]

In November 2017 Greitens appointed 27 advocates to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Boards, Children's Trust Fund Board, and Missouri State Foster Care and Adoption Board. Many of those boards had been unable to operate because no one had been appointed to them to make quorum.[138]

In December 2017, Sheena Greitens announced that the administration's Children's Division had enrolled in a new National Council For Adoption (NCFA) study of foster parent recruitment and retention. Its goal was to find ways to more effectively train and support foster parents.[139] Sheena Greitens also distributed over 3,200 books in state storage Missouri's foster families and foster children.[140] She then announced that Missouri had joined the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise, a multistate collaboration designed to make adoption and fostering across state lines easier.[137]

Council of Governors[edit]

In May 2017 Trump appointed Greitens to the Council of Governors.[141] A bipartisan organization of state governors, the council advises on matters of national defense, the national guard and defense support to local authorities. Greitens served alongside Rick Scott of Florida, Bill Walker of Alaska, Mark Dayton of Minnesota, Steve Bullock of Montana, Dannel Malloy of Connecticut, and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma. Greitens was the only newly elected governor Trump appointed.[142]

Public safety and law enforcement support[edit]

Greitens signed a "Blue Alert" law modeled after the Amber Alert system for missing children. He pursued the idea to allow public broadcasts with information that could assist in the apprehension of individuals who commit violence against police officers. The measure was part of a package of crime-related changes to state law the Missouri House and Senate approved in May 2017. It also enhanced penalties for assaults on law enforcement officers and created the crime of illegal reentry. People deported from the United States for committing a crime who return and commit a felony would also be guilty of illegal reentry in Missouri.[143][144]

Greitens announced a special operations unit of the State Highway Patrol to target violent felons on interstate highways. The task force collected better intelligence to aid local police and pushed to stop drug trafficking. The Missouri Department of Public Safety worked with the FBI and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to go after violent criminals.[145]

Greitens changed the state's emergency response philosophy, adopting a "go early, go big" approach in which the operating response was to go before disaster strikes and be overprepared throughout the emergency to minimize human casualties. He activated the State Emergency Operations Center prior to several major events, including instances of massive flooding, tornadoes, and winter storms. The center operates 24 hours a day to coordinate the response by the National Weather Service, the Department of Public Safety, the State Emergency Management Agency, Missouri State Highway Patrol, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Electric Utilities and Power Companies/Power, and faith-based and volunteer response partners, including Convoy of Hope and the Red Cross.[146]

Officials in the Greitens administration sent notices to 8,000 doctors who were not following best practices for prescribing opioids within the state's Medicaid program, instructing them to change their prescribing patterns and consider referring people on long-term opioids to addiction programs. The Kansas City Star reported that Greitens also started filling vacancies on the medical licensing board with physicians who were "willing to get tough on colleagues who contribute to the opioid crisis."[147]

Greitens issued an executive order to create a prescription drug monitoring program, addressing the concern that Missouri was the only state in the U.S. without a program. The order directed the Department of Health and Senior Services to build the database, which was designed to help identify suspicious patterns of prescriptions of controlled substances, including opioids.[148]

Greitens created the Firefighter Veterans Initiative to connect veterans to public safety careers. The program introduces participants to firefighting through physical skills training through basic classroom instruction and pairing students with mentors.[149]

Second year[edit]

On February 24, 2018, Greitens declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri National Guard in response to severe weather that began on February 23.[150]

Tax reform[edit]
Governor Greitens and Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid on the field at KC Chiefs Training Camp in St. Joseph, Missouri in July 2017.

On January 18, 2018, Greitens announced tax cuts to be proposed in the state legislature. More information on the cuts was released in the following weeks. The plan was to cut individual and corporate taxes by approximately $800 million. The overhaul would reduce the top individual income tax rate by 10% and the corporate income tax rate by nearly a third. The top individual income tax rate would drop from 5.9% to 5.3%. The proposal would also create a nonrefundable state tax credit for low-income workers, which Greitens said would essentially eliminate income taxes for 380,000 people. He said the bill would lower taxes 51%, from $920 to $449 annually for a married couple with two children earning $40,000. Greitens also said the plan would lower taxes 2.9%, from $6,917 to $6,716 annually, for a married couple with two children who earn $150,000. The plan also intended to cut corporate tax rates from 6.25% to 4.25%.[151][152] It simplified the tax code and eliminated special rules that rewarded companies that hired employees outside of Missouri. As a result, Missouri would have the country's second-lowest corporate tax rate.[153]

Greitens's $28.8 billion fiscal 2019 budget proposal estimated a 2.5% growth rate in net general revenue, with 70% coming from personal income taxes. To balance the operating budget, Greitens also proposed changes to the tax code that would increase state revenue. One of these was removing the timely filing discount. The discount offers vendors up to a 2% discount for filing sales taxes on time. The Missouri Department of Revenue projected state savings of $57.4 million by eliminating the discount.[154]

Greitens signed legislation that simplified Missouri's tax code, eliminated special rules that rewarded companies that hired employees outside of Missouri, and reduced Missouri's business tax rate from 6.25% to 4.0%, making it the second lowest in the country.[155]

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer[edit]

Greitens ended a longstanding state policy against using tax dollars to aid religious groups. His decision came a week before the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer. The lawsuit challenged a 2012 decision by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to deny the Columbia church a grant to replace the gravel on its playground with softer, safer material. Greitens instructed the Department of Natural Resources to allow religious organizations to apply for and be eligible to receive those grants.[156]

Jason Stockley protests[edit]

On September 15, 2017, St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was found not guilty of first-degree murder for shooting Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011. Protests erupted in St. Louis. Before the verdict, a group of clergy publicly stated that an acquittal would result in "mass disruption" in the city. Greitens, who was openly critical of his predecessor Jay Nixon's response to the Ferguson unrest, preemptively activated the Missouri National Guard and scheduled 12-hour shifts for the St. Louis municipal police.

Before the judge's decision in Stockley's trial, Greitens and Smith's fiancée, Christina Wilson, made a call for peace. "If you feel like you want to speak out, speak how you feel and whatever comes to you", Wilson said, "Just do it in a peaceful way."[157][158] Greitens said, "Whatever the verdict is, we will protect every single person's right to peacefully protest". "And whatever the verdict is, we will also protect people's lives, their homes and our communities."[157]

Following the verdict, Greitens oversaw the Department of Public Safety's plan to protect city infrastructure, such as firehouses. After declaring the protests an "unlawful assembly", police officers were pelted with water bottles and rocks. Protesters also descended upon Mayor Lyda Krewson's home, and threw bricks at and vandalized it. Police deployed tear gas to break up the crowd and two officers were injured by bricks thrown by protesters. Over the night, ten police officers were injured and 32 protesters arrested. Greitens said, "In the past, our leaders let people break windows, loot, start fires. They let them do it. Not this time." Within 48 hours, major threats of violence were thwarted and it was reported that the St. Louis police made 300 arrests. Greitens garnered national attention for his response to the protest. "We had leaders who wanted to give people a safe space to loot and to burn", Greitens told Fox News. "Now in Missouri if you loot the only safe space you're going to have is in a jail cell."[159]

Low-income housing tax credits[edit]

In 2017 the Missouri Housing Development Commission voted 8 to 2 to zero out the state's low-income housing tax credit for 2018.[160] Greitens phoned into the meeting and voted to zero out the tax credits while then-Lt. Governor Mike Parson voted to keep them. Greitens said in a written statement that "special interests abused low income housing tax breaks to make themselves rich."[160]

After Greitens's appointments to the commission and the 2017 vote, Missouri did not issue $140 million in state low-income housing tax credits. The low-income housing tax credit program was cut from over $1.3 billion over the previous decade to zero. Greitens accused the low-income housing industry of conspiring to upend his political career though legal troubles and the threat of impeachment.[161] It was later determined that a month after he orchestrated the demise of the tax credit, local newspaper publisher Scott Faughn paid $50,000 in cash to the attorney for the ex-husband of the woman who accused Greitens of sexual misconduct.[161] The Kansas City Star reported on July 8, 2019, that Faughn eventually paid the attorney another $70,000 in cash, keeping the transactions secret for months while continuing to cover Greitens both in his newspaper and on his TV show, which is sponsored by Sterling Bank, a Poplar Bluff-based bank highly involved in low-income housing tax credits. When the payments were eventually revealed, Faughn fled the state to avoid a subpoena from Greitens's lawyers. The attorney who received the payments testified that he was told the cash came from a GOP donor who wanted to oust Greitens.[161]

Greitens training with firefighters at the St. Louis Fire Academy in February 2017.

When Parson took over as governor following Greitens's resignation in June 2018, he was adamant that the $150 million program remain dormant until the legislature passed reforms. In May 2019, after the legislature was unable to reconcile differences between the two chambers in a bill to restart the program, Parson's office announced that he would consider restoring the credits without the legislature, but he ultimately decided against doing so.

Changes to the Missouri National Guard and veterans' rights[edit]

On June 14, 2017, Greitens signed legislation (S.B. 108) guaranteeing state and federal reemployment rights to Missouri employees who are members of any reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces called to active duty. The law also extended reemployment rights to Missouri employees who are members of the National Guard of another state called to active duty in that state.[162]

On October 10, 2017, Greitens announced the Missouri Army National Guard would add nearly 800 soldiers by 2019. The expansion brought units to Missouri from around the country. The new units' economic impact was estimated around $15 million, including direct payroll and access to benefits for healthcare and education for the soldiers.[163]

In February 2018, Greitens announced that members of the Missouri National Guard would train with the Israeli Home Front Command. Missouri is one of four states—along with Colorado, Illinois and Massachusetts—to train with the command, a branch of the Israel Defense Forces that focuses on civilian protection during a war or crisis.[164][165]

In April 2018, Greitens signed into law legislation allowing those in the Missouri National Guard and the armed forces reserves to deduct their military income from their state taxes.[166]

On April 27, 2018, Greitens announced an initiative in the Department of Natural Resources to recruit and hire more veterans at Missouri State Parks. DNR began recruiting veterans to serve in the department in June 2017. That effort was expanded by opening additional positions to veteran recruits including Park Ranger, Park/Historic Site Specialist and maintenance classifications. In response to the initiative, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources developed a new website devoted to veteran recruitment.[167]

Confide app ruling[edit]

In December 2017, Democrats accused Greitens and senior members of his staff of subverting Missouri's open records laws after the Kansas City Star reported that they used Confide, a messaging app that erases texts after they have been read, on their personal phones.[168] Attorney General Hawley at first claimed conflict of interest, but on December 20 announced his office would investigate, saying that the matter was legally complex because the state Sunshine Law "was written decades and decades ago and has not been updated to take into account" technological changes.[169][170][171] In March 2018, Hawley cleared Greitens, finding no evidence of wrongdoing.[172]

In late December, two attorneys filed suit, claiming that use of such "self-immolating" apps by elected officials and government employees violates Missouri's public records laws.[173][174] On January 3, 2018, Rep. Gina Mitten filed House Bill 1817, which would ban use of apps like Confide in conducting public business, and Richardson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that in its 2018 session the legislature might consider modernizing the state's current open records laws.[171]

On July 9, 2019, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem sided with Greitens, dismissing the claims that Greitens's office had subverted or violated any laws. Beetem also ruled that as a private citizen, St. Louis attorney Ben Sansone could not sue Greitens over alleged Sunshine Law violations.[175]

Affair and invasion of privacy charge[edit]

On January 10, 2018, ahead of an investigative report released by St. Louis CBS affiliate KMOV the same evening, Greitens publicly disclosed that he had engaged in an extramarital affair with his hairstylist in 2015.[176] He and his wife issued a joint statement in which he acknowledged the affair, called it "a deeply personal mistake", and said that "we dealt with this together honestly and privately."[177]

KMOV played a recording made by the hairstylist's then-husband in which she said that Greitens had invited her to his home, where she consented to having her hands taped to exercise rings above her head while she was undressed, after which she was blindfolded. In the recording, the hairstylist added that while she was blindfolded, Greitens took pictures of her without her consent and threatened to share them if she ever went public with the affair.[178] She alleges Greitens told her: "You're not going to mention my name. Don't even mention my name to anybody at all, because if you do, I'm going to take these pictures, and I'm going to put them everywhere I can. They are going to be everywhere, and then everyone will know what a little whore you are."[179] The woman tried to leave, but reported to a Special Investigative Committee on Oversight of the Missouri House of Representatives that Greitens pulled her into a "bear hug", "so that she was now lying on the basement floor, crying."[179] She further testified that Greitens then coerced her into performing oral sex on him, after which he permitted her to leave. The woman also testified to the committee that in a later encounter Greitens slapped her and that, in their final encounter, he "smacked [her] and grabbed [her] and shoved [her] down on the ground."[180]

Greitens denied the blackmail accusation.[178] After initially not commenting on the question, his attorney appeared to deny that any pictures were taken; in an email, he wrote, "No violence. No picture taken. No threat of blackmail."[176][181] Greitens also denied taking any such photos.[182]

After Attorney General Josh Hawley's office said in a statement that it did not have jurisdiction to look into the matter, the circuit attorney for the City of St. Louis opened an investigation into the blackmail allegations.[183][184]

On January 20, 2018, CNN reported that two unnamed sources alleged that the FBI was investigating Greitens. Following its usual practice, the FBI did not confirm or deny the existence of an inquiry, and the sources could not confirm whether the blackmail allegations were its focus.[185] In response, Greitens's attorney, Jim Bennett, said in an email that he and his colleagues had not seen any indication that an FBI investigation was underway. Bennett added that they saw nothing worthy of investigation, and that "Governor Greitens has not been contacted at any time by the FBI and we are not aware of any interest by the FBI."[186]

"I have notified CNN that this story should be retracted", Bennett said. "Without getting into the details, it is sufficient to say the named source has a history of profane and aberrant behavior toward people associated with Governor Greitens dating back to last year to such a degree that Governor Greitens' press secretary had to block his calls and other members of the Missouri Republican Party staff felt threatened to the degree that senior leadership attempted to intervene with his family." The named source was former Greitens supporter Eli Karabell.[186] On January 20, 2018, Greitens told the Associated Press he didn't know Karabell. Greitens's spokesman, Parker Briden, said Karabell was a "serial liar" who had called Briden multiple times "acting crazy", including claiming he would donate millions to Greitens if he could meet with him.[187]


On February 22, 2018, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens on felony invasion of privacy charges.[188] He was released on his own recognizance[189][190] and waived his first appearance.[191]

On March 26, the judge denied defense motions to have a bench trial rather than a jury trial, refused to dismiss the assistant prosecutor, kept the jury trial date as scheduled, and refused to dismiss the indictment.[192]

On April 9, 2018, Fox News reported that the woman with whom Greitens had the affair testified that she could not say whether she saw him with a camera or phone on the day he allegedly took the photo, as he had blindfolded her. Court records say that the woman told prosecutors, "I don't know if it's because I'm remembering it through a dream or I—I'm not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after it happened, but I haven't spoken about it because of that".[193]

In pre-trial depositions, William Tisaby, a former FBI agent who assisted St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner with the Greitens investigations, affirmed to defense attorneys that he had taken notes during his interview of the woman. After attorneys pressed him to turn over the notes, he changed his testimony and asserted that he had not taken notes during the interview. Video footage, initially withheld from defense attorneys but later tendered, showed Tisaby taking notes during his interview with the woman while in Gardner's presence.[194]

On April 20, 2018, the circuit court attorney charged Greitens with a second felony for tampering with a computer in taking email and donor lists from The Mission Continues for fundraising purposes.[195] The Associated Press first reported on the donor list in October 2016. Greitens initially denied using the list, but in April 2017 he acknowledged its use. He said the list was provided by his then-campaign manager, but the former manager denied that.[196]

Dismissal of criminal charges[edit]

Both charges against Greitens were dropped in May 2018.[197] Prosecutors withdrew the felony invasion of privacy charge on May 14, 2018, after investigators failed to find the alleged photo that formed the basis of the charge.[198]

The circuit attorney referred the case to a special prosecutor, Jean Peters Baker of Kansas City. Baker declined to refile charges, citing the statutes of limitations and insufficient evidence.[199][200] The Kansas City Star confirmed that at the conclusion of Gardner's and Baker's investigations, evidence of an alleged photo was never produced.[201]

On May 18, 2018, Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson announced he would not file any additional charges against Greitens, as suggested by Attorney General Hawley, related to how his gubernatorial campaign reported the receipt of a charity donor list used for political fundraising.[202][203]

Special Investigative Committee report[edit]

Several Republican members of the Missouri House of Representatives called on Greitens to resign after the allegations were made public.[204] Josh Hawley, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate, called the situation "very grave".[205] Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, a Greitens campaign contributor and ally, called on him to resign.[206]

On April 11, 2018, a Special Investigative Committee (SIC) of the Missouri House of Representatives released an initial 24-page report detailing allegations, deemed "credible", against Greitens by the hairstylist with whom he had had an affair. The report testimony details how Greitens took many precautions to hide the affair, including making her change clothes and leave all of her belongings in his kitchen, and blackmailed her into secrecy about the affair with a naked photo of her taken without her consent. Greitens was also physically and verbally abusive, according to the witness.[207] The stylist accused him of unwanted kissing and sexual touching, violently slapping and spanking her, and coercing her into performing oral sex on him.[208][209] In a four-page report issued on April 30, 2018, the SIC chair, Republican Representative Jay Barnes, said it found that the Greitens defense claims that the woman's testimony was inconsistent were groundless.[195]

Impeachment session and resignation[edit]

On May 3, the Missouri House and Senate collected enough signatures from members to call a special session to consider impeachment.[210] House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Republican, said 29 senators and 138 House members, more than the three-fourths required in each chamber, supported convening a 30-day special session. It began on May 18, the last day of the regular session.[211][212]

On May 29, 2018, Greitens announced that he would resign effective June 1, 2018.[213] The St. Louis prosecutor's office had made a deal with him that if he resigned, it would withdraw the felony charges for using the veterans' charity email list in his campaign.[214]


On December 31, 2018, the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight that was investigating Greitens released its final report.[215] The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported, "Documents and testimony showed that Greitens ran an off-the-books gubernatorial campaign in 2014 and 2015, and lied about his campaign's acceptance of a charity donor list from the Mission Continues, a veterans charity Greitens founded in 2007."[215]

On July 18, 2019, KFVS televised an interview with Greitens about a leaked draft audit of former Missouri Director of Public Safety Drew Juden by Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, rumored to be planning a run for governor in 2020.[216] Greitens can be seen leaving a building in his U.S. Navy uniform before changing clothes to speak to the station.[216] He appointed Juden in January 2017 as Director of Missouri Department of Public Safety. Governor Mike Parson announced that Juden would leave the department in August 2018.[217] Shortly after the appointment of former State Patrol Superintendent Sandra Karsten as Juden's replacement, Auditor Nicole Galloway announced a departmental audit of DPS at Parson's request.[218] KFVS's investigation found that Galloway's audit covered only Juden's time as director.[216] The first draft of the audit KFVS obtained alleged that Juden had taken unreported time off while director.[216]

Final days in office[edit]

At 508 days, Greitens's gubernatorial tenure is the 10th-shortest in Missouri history. Among elected governors, his tenure is the shortest of any Missouri governor since 1861, and the fourth-shortest overall (behind only Frederick Bates, Claiborne Fox Jackson, and Trusten Polk).[219]

In the final days of his administration, Greitens signed 77 pieces of legislation into law. Among these was a bill that cut the corporate tax rate and changed how utility companies receive rate adjustments. He also signed a law making revenge porn illegal in Missouri. He banned lab-grown meat products or meat substitutes from being labeled as "meat", provided a 5% rate reduction for utility companies, and allowed monopoly utility companies to increase fees for water services if they don't make the expected amount from utility rates. Greitens also signed bills to:

  • allow telephone companies to choose a different way to be taxed;
  • pare a program intended to entice developers to restore dilapidated buildings;
  • raise the minimum age to be tried as an adult from 17 to 18;
  • give state regulatory control over disposal of industrial waste;
  • reclassify state workers as at-will employees;
  • allow businesses to grow and harvest hemp;
  • decrease the corporate tax rate from 6.25% to 4%; and
  • expand Medicaid coverage for new mothers struggling with addiction.[220]

Greitens also issued four commutations and five pardons.[221]

Pardon of Judy Henderson[edit]

On December 20, 2017, Judy Henderson was released from the Chillicothe Correctional Center in northwest Missouri after 35 years, on Greitens's orders.[222] Greitens went to Chillicothe to meet with Henderson and sign the papers commuting her life sentence for her role in the July 1981 robbery-turned-murder of jeweler Harry Klein. Greitens's office said that Henderson could have been out of prison decades earlier.[222] After her release, the 68-year-old Henderson gave her version of the events on The Real Story with María Elena Salinas.[222] Authorities believe her boyfriend, Greg Cruzen, shot Klein and paid four witnesses to lie about Henderson's role, according to the Springfield News-Leader.[223] At trial, Henderson and Cruzen were represented by the same defense attorney. "I remember Jimmy McMullin, the attorney, telling us to not say a word, not to talk to anyone about anything. I was so confused, I felt like we were both going to be O.K. That's what Greg kept telling me", she told Salinas. Henderson claims she wanted to take the stand to defend herself "but Jimmy McMullin said I cannot, and I did not know what my defense was until every witness walked in the courtroom and I would tell Jimmy when they would come in, I said, 'Who are they and why are they here?'" She was found guilty. Cruzen was acquitted.[222]

Greitens's office said it reviewed thousands of documents related to the case before Greitens commuted her sentence and subsequently pardoned her. She told the News-Leader that Greitens called her on his last day in office to tell her she was pardoned. "The loss of a life and the pain that it caused his family is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life", Henderson said in June 2018.[223]

Special prosecutor appointment to investigate St. Louis Circuit Attorney[edit]

Following the dismissal of all charges against Greitens, his defense attorneys filed a police report with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department alleging criminal misconduct by Gardner's office in his case.[224]

On June 29, 2018, St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Mullen appointed Gerard Carmody as special prosecutor to investigate the alleged misconduct by Gardner's office.[225][226] On June 17, 2019, a seven-count felony indictment of William Tisaby was unsealed. Tisaby had been charged with six counts of felony perjury and one count of felony tampering with evidence.[227] According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 30-page indictment accused Tisaby of concealing a series of documents from defense attorneys and lying under oath during the deposition "about matters that could substantially affect, or did substantially affect, the course or outcome of the Greitens case."[228] The Associated Press reported that Tisaby surrendered to authorities on the same day the indictment against him was unsealed. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment and was released on his own recognizance on the conditions that he surrender his passport and inform a probation officer of any travel.[229] In a press conference following Tisaby's release from custody on June 17, 2018, Tisaby's attorney, Jermaine Wooten, told reporters that "Ms. Gardner is probably the actual target here, not Mr. Tisaby."[230]

The indictment also lodged a series of claims against Gardner, stating "that she failed to correct Tisaby's lies, failed to report them to police, and made incorrect statements to defense lawyers and the judge." The alleged misconduct in the unsuccessful prosecution of Greitens has placed Gardner at risk of losing her law license and facing criminal charges.[228]

On July 10, 2019, the grand jury that indicted Tisaby disbanded without any other indictments.[231] The next day, Gardner held a press conference outside the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office denying any wrongdoing in Greitens's case. The press conference marked Gardner's first public statement on the matter since the appointment of the special prosecutor, as a gag order had been placed on the case for the duration of the grand jury. Fox 2 Now reported that Gardner claimed that it was time for the city to "move on".[232] Following the press conference, Carmody took the unusual step of putting out a statement clarifying that the grand jury disbanded not because the investigation was complete but because it had reached its expiration and its term could not be extended.[233] "Notwithstanding the expiration of that Grand Jury's term, the investigation into possible criminal activity will continue", Carmody said in the statement.[233]

During an August 15, 2019, hearing, Carmody said the ongoing probe was focused on the failed prosecution of Greitens and confirmed that Gardner was under "active criminal investigation".[234]

In December 2021, Tisaby's trial date was set for March 28, 2022.[235] On March 23, 2022, Tisaby pleaded guilty to misdemeanor evidence tampering and was sentenced to one year's probation.[236] He admitted to failing to give Greitens's lawyers documents including his notes from an interview with the women involved in the case.[236] Tisaby reportedly pleaded guilty due to his health and his attorney's uncertainty about whether he could endure a full jury trial.[237]

Investigation and conclusion[edit]

In February 2020, after a nearly 18-month investigation into Greitens's 2016 gubernatorial campaign, the Missouri Ethics Commission (MEC) "found no evidence of any wrongdoing" by him, but required the campaign to update its reports with in-kind contributions from two groups, and to pay the commission about $178,000 in fees. In a statement, Greitens called the result an exoneration and vindication.[238][239]

Greitens spoke publicly for the first time since his resignation with Fox 2 St. Louis' Chris Hayes on February 13, 2020.[240] Greitens claimed that the investigation was a result of "false allegations made by a lawyer politician", presumably former State Rep. Jay Barnes, who filed the complaint. Barnes served as the Chairman of the Missouri House Special Committee on Oversight responsible for investigating the allegations against Greitens. Barnes publicly accused Greitens of running a "criminal enterprise" and of having committed "literary fraud" relating to Greitens's best-selling book, Resilience. The MEC found no evidence to support Barnes' claims.[241]

On February 20, 2020, Greitens appeared on several radio shows to discuss a resolution introduced in the Missouri House by Rep. Justin Hill calling on U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice to investigate several cash payments totaling $120,000 paid to witnesses in the Greitens case in 2018.[242] Hill, a former police officer with experience on a DEA task force responsible for large currency investigations, appeared on The Marc Cox Show prior to Greitens. Hill characterized the cash payments delivered by convicted felon and Missouri journalist Scott Faughn as a "criminal effort to un-elect a duly elected Governor".[243] Greitens and his supporters have denied any criminal wrongdoing and have repeatedly called the allegations a "political witch hunt".[10]

On June 4, 2020, Special Operations Forces Report (SOFREP) reported that a documentary series will investigate Governor Mike Parson's and Gardner's roles in removing Greitens from office.[244][245]

Before his resignation, many Republican figures mentioned Greitens as a leading contender for President of the United States.[246]

U.S. Senate campaign[edit]

In 2020, Greitens announced his candidacy for the 2022 United States Senate election in Missouri to succeed the retiring Roy Blunt. He leads most Republican primary opinion polls, ahead of Missouri Attorney General Eric S. Schmitt.[247] Greitens has been endorsed by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Navy SEAL Ryan Zinke and Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, the latter joining his campaign as a national chair.[248]

Many Republican elected and former political officials, including Karl Rove, have expressed public disdain for Greitens's candidacy, claiming that the scandal surrounding his resignation as governor, extramarital affair, and sexual assault accusations will lead to the loss of the seat. Greitens raised $27,000 during his campaign's first month, but his donations have increased following support from Republican donor Richard Uihlein.[249] After Greitens's wife filed an affidavit against him in March 2022 accusing him of physical abuse, Senator Josh Hawley also urged Greitens to drop out, saying, "If you hit a woman or a child, you belong in handcuffs, not the United States Senate."[250] Hawley endorsed another candidate, Vicky Hartzler, in February 2022.[251]

Greitens has repeated Great Replacement claims about illegal immigration to the United States.[252]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2013, Greitens appeared in the science fiction film Star Trek Into Darkness along with five other post-9/11 military veterans. Director J. J. Abrams partnered with Greitens after learning of his work at the Mission Continues. In the film, Greitens and the veterans act as the honor guard during a memorial service near the end of the film. "There was a lot of solemnity even in the process of folding that flag, because they had either seen it themselves or done it for friends and colleagues who had died in Iraq and Afghanistan", Greitens told the New York Daily News.[253]

Greitens is featured in Joe Klein's 2015 book Charlie Mike: A True Story of Heroes Who Brought Their Mission Home.[254]

Post-gubernatorial career[edit]

On June 2, 2019, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Greitens had returned to the U.S. Navy as a Naval Reserve Officer.[255]

COVID-19 response[edit]

During a Fox News interview on America's Newsroom, Greitens called the COVID-19 outbreak a "serious issue" and said that "fear is also contagious", calling for a level-headed response from elected officials.[256]

On March 30, 2020, Greitens solicited donations and then purchased $80,000 worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders in the St. Louis, Kansas City, and St. Joseph areas. He provided nearly 15,000 protective masks to numerous agencies as part of the nonprofit VirusRelief.[257][258][259]

Personal life[edit]

Sheena Greitens in 2017
Eric and Sheena Greitens dancing at the inaugural ball

Greitens's marriage to his first wife, Rebecca Wright, ended in divorce in 2003.[260][261]

Greitens was married to Sheena Elise Chestnut from 2011 to 2020. They have two sons.[262][263][14]

In 2015, Greitens had an extramarital affair with his hairstylist.[176] She accused him of coercing her to perform oral sex, undressing, kissing and touching her without her consent, and threatening to release a nude photo of her if she told anyone about their encounter, which took place in 2015.[264] Greitens has claimed a 2018 report by the Missouri House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, which concluded that the woman's accusations were credible, was discredited.[265]

In December 2016, before Greitens took office, Sheena Greitens was robbed at gunpoint at a St. Louis-area coffee shop. She was unharmed. Three suspects, ages 14, 15 and 19, were arrested a short time later. Eric Greitens said at the time that he was glad "the men and women of law enforcement found these young men before I did."[266] After the incident, Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz said the patrol would begin providing security for Sheena Greitens. The patrol provided security for the governor-elect immediately after the election, but Hotz said security detail for the spouse typically begins only after a governor takes office.[266]

On April 11, 2020, Eric and Sheena Greitens announced they were ending their marriage.[267] Soon thereafter, Sheena Greitens said she had accepted a job as an associate professor of political science at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She focuses primarily on East Asia, American national security, and authoritarian politics and foreign policy.[268][269] In 2022, in a sworn affidavit, Greitens's ex-wife accused him of physical abuse "such as cuffing our then-3-year-old son across the face at the dinner table" during their marriage and said that because of the abuse, "steps were taken to limit his access to firearms."[270]

In response to these allegations, Greitens retained a criminal defense attorney, Tim Parlatore, best known for defending former Navy SEAL and accused war criminal Eddie Gallagher.[271] Parlatore said the allegations against Greitens "are complete and total lies."[272]

Missouri's first Jewish governor, Greitens attends the Reform B'nai El synagogue.[273][274]

Honors and awards[edit]

On October 3, 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Greitens the President's Volunteer Service Award outside Air Force One at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, for his work at The Mission Continues.[275][276]

In 2009, Greitens received the HOOAH Award, commissioned by the Major George A. Smith Memorial Fund and presented by the National Conference on Citizenship to recognize "a notable veteran who defines their citizenship through service to our country".[277][278] He was also named the 2010 Reader of the Year by Outside magazine.[279][280]

In June 2010, Major League Baseball and People announced Greitens as a winner in People's All-Stars Among Us competition. He was selected to represent the city of St. Louis and the Cardinals at the 2010 All-Star Game in Anaheim, California.[281][282]

On May 20, 2012, Greitens was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) from Tufts University when he gave the commencement speech at the school's 156th commencement.[283] That same year he received the Bronfman Prize, which recognizes dynamic leaders whose innovation and impact serve as inspiration for the next generations.[284]

On April 18, 2013, Time named Greitens to its list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.[285] In 2014 Fortune featured him as one of the World's 50 Greatest Leaders.[286]

Military award ribbons and badges[edit]

United States Navy Special Warfare insignia.png Navy Special Warfare Insignia

U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia-redone.png Navy Parachutist Badge

NavySmallBoatOfficerPin.jpg Navy Small Boat Officer Pin

Bronze Star ribbon.svg  Bronze Star Medal

Purple Heart ribbon.svg  Purple Heart

Joint Service Commendation ribbon.svg  Joint Service Commendation Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg  Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal

Combat Action Ribbon.svg  Navy Combat Action Ribbon

Us jointservachiev rib.svg  Joint Service Achievement Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon.svg  Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal

National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg  National Defense Service Medal

Afghanistan Campaign ribbon.svg  Afghanistan Campaign Medal

Iraq Campaign Medal ribbon.svg  Iraq Campaign Medal

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal ribbon.svg  Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal

Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg  Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.svg  Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon

ResMedRib.svg  Armed Forces Reserve Medal

Outstanding Volunteer Service ribbon.svg  Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal

United States Navy Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon with expert device.svg  Navy Expert Rifleman Medal

United States Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon with expert device.svg  Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal



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External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for Governor of Missouri
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Governor of Missouri
Succeeded by
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas Former Governor Order of precedence of the United States
Within Missouri
Succeeded byas Former Governor
Order of precedence of the United States
Outside Missouri
Succeeded byas Former Governor