He filed a lawsuit in May 2014 on behalf of political activist Eric O'Keefe (Wisconsin Club for Growth) against the Government Accountability Board (GAB) in Wisconsin, which captured national media attention, including coverage by The Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit, which also names Kevin Kennedy, the board's executive director and general counsel, asserts that, under Kennedy's direction, the GAB collaborated with five county district attorneys in a secret John Doe investigation of O'Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth. According to the suit, this is in violation of state statutes that restrict GAB to investigations relating to civil violations of campaign laws.
Graves was the first lawyer to file a suit on behalf of a group of Tea Party organizations against the Internal Revenue Service, alleging the IRS engaged in inappropriate “targeting of conservative political groups for extra scrutiny as they sought tax-exempt status”, as reported in The Kansas City Star. The lawsuit, pending in the Southern District of Ohio, where most Tea Party applications were initially processed, raises claims of viewpoint-based discrimination and retaliation under the First Amendment.
Graves also operates a cattle ranching business near Smithville, Missouri, which has been featured by the Kansas City Business Journal. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Herzog Contracting Corp, a St. Joseph-based railroad and road construction company.
Graves took his oath of office on September 17, 2001, as an interim United States attorney appointed by the U.S. District Court. His appointment was approved by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate on October 11, 2001. He initially appeared on a list of 12 U.S. attorneys slated to be dismissed. Seven on that list were dismissed on December 7, 2006.
In April 2007, a Justice Department spokesperson declined to discuss redacted names on the list. He said the Justice Department withheld the names of prosecutors who had been considered for possible dismissal to protect their reputations and "their ability to function effectively as U.S. attorneys or professionals in other roles." On May 9, 2007, Graves disclosed that he had been forced out by the Department of Justice, and had not departed on his own initiative. After resigning from his position as U.S. attorney, Graves formed the law firm of Graves Bartle & Marcus, LLC, which has evolved into the firm Graves Garrett LLC and is based in Kansas City, Missouri.