Bipartisan group of senators request formal investigation of Gov. Greitens
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Several senators from both sides of the aisle have filed a Senate Resolution calling for a formal investigation into Gov. Eric Greitens’ for the “questionable activity” between himself and the Greitens supporting political nonprofit, A New Missouri Inc.
“We can no longer turn a blind eye to the unprecedented games being played by Gov. Greitens’ and his political machine, especially in light of this consent agreement with the Missouri Ethics Commission,” Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, said in a statement. “You can’t ignore possible unethical behavior by the governor or his campaign, just because you share the same party label. Missourians deserve to know what happened, and it’s the duty of the Senate to find out.”
New Missouri has earned the label of a “dark money” group because it receives funds from donors it does not legally need to disclose, but the possible link between the governor and the nonprofit has further raised eyebrows and led to calls of misconduct. Greitens’ senior political advisor, Austin Chambers also works with New Missouri and both have repeatedly, and carefully, said Greitens does not have “day-to-day” oversight of the nonprofit.
However, the links between the two have grown recently as the nonprofit has repeatedly used resources to go above-and-beyond to support Greitens’ two calls for special sessions. They bussed in people from Southeast Missouri to attend a rally in Jefferson City during his first special session in May and the group apparently paid for Greitens’ transit from Joplin to St. Louis last week when he held rallies for his special session on abortion regulations, according to the Joplin Globe’s Crystal Thomas.
— Crystal Thomas (@crystalclear224) June 9, 2017
Before that, the nonprofit has paid for several social media ads against specific senators for not adhering to the governor’s policy platform. New Missouri publicly posted Sen. Rob Schaaf’s personal cell phone number in one of those ads and accused avowed supporter of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Sen. Doug Libla of weakness of law enforcement.
Both Schaaf and Libla, along with Silvey are among the bipartisan group of senators offering the resolution. They join Sens. Bob Dixon, Jason Holsman, Scott Sifton, in that look.
Holsman said in a statement the investigation should also look at what role Greitens played in an ethics violation committed by his campaign. A ruling from the Missouri Ethics Commission ruled his campaign illegally obtained a donor call list from The Mission Continues, the nonprofit organization Greitens used to serve as the founder and CEO of.
“Missouri voters deserve to know the role Gov. Greitens played in the illegal activity of his campaign, and how deep the corruption within the governor’s organization continues to go,” Holsman, D-Kansas City, said. “We must protect the integrity of Missouri’s highest office and I am pleased to join my Republican colleagues in calling for this investigation.”
The Senate itself has had an oftentimes contentious relationship with Greitens since he came into office. One of his first considerable interactions with the legislature occurred when he berated several senators in late January for refusing to vote in favor of a resolution that would deny a pay raise for legislators. Later in session, Senate leadership refused to approve several gubernatorial appointees after he issued an executive order to give paid family leave to some parts of the executive branch, which was seen as too unilateral by some senators.
Parker Briden, a spokesman for the governor, said in an email that the call for an investigation was a “temper tantrum.”
“We put out a call for a special session to protect lives and the health and safety of Missourians, and this is the response from these politicians? They’re angry that the Governor is shaking up Jefferson City and won’t accept their excuses for failure any longer,” Briden said.. “Temper tantrums from career politicians don’t bother us. It’s just more evidence that Gov. Greitens is an outsider who is doing what he said he would do: taking on politicians in both parties to get results.
“When career politicians are whining, Missourians are winning.”