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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Missouri House unanimously authorizes special committee to investigate Greitens’ indictment

Missouri House members consider resolution to authorize investigation of indictment against Gov. Eric Greitens.
Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications
Missouri House members consider resolution to authorize investigation of indictment against Gov. Eric Greitens.

A panel set up to investigate the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens now has the official go-ahead from the Missouri House.

The chamber on Thursday voted unanimously, 154-0, on a resolution that gives authority to the committee to hold hearings, subpoena witnesses and issue a report that could include a recommendation to impeach the governor. It could also take the lesser action of censuring the governor — essentially a written reprimand — or choose no action.

The Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has 40 days, starting today, to investigate the indictment and issue a report to the full House, although it has the authority to extend its investigation beyond the April 9 deadline.

Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, tried to amend the language by cutting the time frame to 30 days and barring the committee from making extensions without permission from the entire House.

“It’s only fair that we have a definite time period in which we can consider those facts that the investigatory committee comes back with, so that we continue to do our job of legislating and continue to do our job of considering laws,” he said. “It’s only fair to the House, only fair to the Senate, (and) to the governor, even; the governor maintains his innocence, and he insists on retaining his office, and so it’s only fair to him that we decide quickly so this state can move forward.”

The amendment was defeated on a voice vote. Fourteen amendments offered up by Democrats were never brought up. The only change approved was a grammar correction.

The resolution gives the committee the authority to subpoena witnesses, but also allows them to testify behind closed doors. Committee chairman, Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, defended the provision.

“We do not want other potential witnesses to potentially change their testimony based on what they had heard from previous witnesses,” he said. “That is standard course in litigation, to exclude witnesses from the courtroom while other witnesses are testifying.”

No hearings have been scheduled yet.

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2018 St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.