House committee ends investigation of Greitens, but Barnes will file ethics complaint
Eric Greitens’ resignation as Missouri governor earlier this month has now officially brought to an end the mission of the House committee that’s been investigating him, but the chairman still plans on filing an ethics complaint.
In a letter sent Monday to members of the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said that the House does not have “inherent authority to investigate anything it wants.”
“The question is not whether further investigation is warranted,” he said. “Instead, it is whether this committee is the appropriate governmental entity for such an investigation.”
To that end, Barnes told committee members that he is planning to file a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission next week against A New Missouri and Greitens for Missouri, and to let him know if any of them would like to add their names to the complaint.
He specifically called out A New Missouri in his letter, calling it “a criminal enterprise from its inception – designed to illegally skirt donation limits and conceal the identities of major donors to Eric Greitens and ballot initiatives relating to right to work that were supported by the former governor.”
A New Missouri is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization formed in 2016 to promote Greitens’ agenda as governor.
Barnes also said that the state attorney general’s office and the Cole County Prosecutor’s Office have the “potential jurisdiction” to investigate A New Missouri, though he specifically didn’t call on them to do so in the letter.
Impeachment filing warranted
He said the House committee would have pursued impeachment if Greitens had not resigned from office: “Although we never voted on it, I believe the evidence was such that a super-majority of our committee was prepared to vote that there was good cause to believe Greitens engaged in multiple acts constituting crimes, misconduct, and acts of moral turpitude warranting the filing of articles of impeachment.”
Committee members were investigating Greitens’ past extramarital affair with his former hairdresser, which included allegations of physical abuse and being coerced to perform sex acts. They were also investigating the former governor’s use of a donor list from The Mission Continues veterans charity, which he founded, to raise money for his run for governor. And in the latter days of the committee’s work, Barnes had said he’d spoken with the FBI about allegations that A New Missouri might have shielded donations from outside the U.S.
Greitens’ resignation was part of a deal he struck with St. Louis prosecutors to drop a computer-tampering charge against him related to the use of The Mission Continues’ list.
Committee member Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, said he regrets the panel can’t continue its work but agreed with Barnes that it probably lost its jurisdiction when Greitens resigned on June 1.
“Missourians deserve to have answers on how Eric Greitens used these dark-money organizations to funnel money and to influence voters and the Legislature,” Razer said. “I hope Attorney General [Josh Hawley] will pick up this torch and keep running with it.”
Hawley could not immediately be reached for comment.
No one from A New Missouri or Greitens for Missouri was available for comment.
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