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Eric Greitens. Photo: Michael Thomas/ Getty Images

A super PAC that funneled millions in untraceable cash to Eric Greitens' 2016 Missouri gubernatorial campaign has resurfaced as he mounts a bid for U.S. Senate, records show.

Why it matters: "SEALs for Truth PAC" provides a means to funnel huge financial support to Greitens as he seeks the Republican nomination. And its revival has the potential to renew scrutiny of the dodgy tactics that helped elect him governor.

  • The group also contributed to the legal and ethical travails that forced his resignation.

What's new: In late May, two days after Greitens officially entered the Senate race, SEALs for Truth filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission signaling it was kicking back into gear.

  • The super PAC had been largely inactive since Greitens' election in 2016. It tried four times last year to terminate its FEC registration but the commission rejected each effort.
  • A source familiar with the situation told Axios the termination was denied because of an ongoing FEC review of allegations it illegally hid the sources of $2 million in contributions to Greitens' gubernatorial campaign.

Background The $2 million that SEALs for Truth donated to Greitens' 2016 campaign came entirely from a nonprofit that, in turn, had links to Greitens' staffers and consultants.

  • The donation was the largest political contribution in Missouri history, and ethics groups have since alleged it was designed to hide the sources of funds for Greitens' campaign.
  • It followed discussions among the Greitens team — later unearthed by the Missouri Ethics Commission — about using nonprofit "dark money" groups to keep the identities of large campaign donors secret.
  • Missouri officials determined that Greitens' campaign had illegally used nonprofits to boost his gubernatorial campaign. Greitens himself was cleared of wrongdoing.
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning nonprofit, filed a complaint with the FEC alleging the SEALs for Truth scheme violated federal election laws. It later sued the FEC to compel an investigation. The case is ongoing.

Between the lines: SEALs for Truth hasn't reported any expenditures in the Missouri Senate race. And it hasn't reported any significant income since the $2 million donation it immediately funneled to Greitens in 2016.

  • Emails to and phone messages left with the contact information on file with the FEC were not returned.
  • A Greitens campaign spokesperson told Axios, "We have no knowledge of any updates involving this group or their plans, nor have we had any contact with this group."

Be smart: Unlike in 2016, when Greitens' campaign was bound by state instead of federal laws, SEALs for Truth won't be able to donate directly to his 2022 effort.

  • Federal law, unlike the Missouri statute, prohibits a super PAC from donating directly to candidates or coordinating with their campaigns.
  • SEALs for Truth can raise and spend unlimited sums on Greitens' behalf, though.

Go deeper

GOP attacks its own

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republican super PACs are beating up on the party's own candidates in key Senate primaries while Democratic groups largely hold their intra-party fire, an Axios analysis found.

Why it matters: The negative ads some Republican groups are directing at GOP candidates threaten to elevate damaging stories about them ahead of competitive fights that could determine control of the 50-50 Senate.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

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