UPDATE, as of 4:47 p.m. on February 16, 2018: Several members of the Governor’s Office have reportedly been served subpoenas by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With a Grand Jury empaneled in the Governor’s hometown of St. Louis, the Missouri Times has learned that investigators from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office have begun interviewing lawmakers at the state Capitol in what appears to be an expansion on what began on as a sex crime investigation into a broader probe of corruption inside the Greitens’ administration.
The Missouri Times has confirmed that investigators have appeared in the state Capitol Wednesday visiting at least three state representatives, two members of Senate leadership, and one former member of the Greitens’ administration.
The meetings with lawmakers reportedly have little to do with the Governor’s alleged blackmailing of a woman whom he had an extramarital affair with. Instead, the questions being asked seem to focus more on the use of a fundraising list belonging to Greitens’ charity in coordination with his campaign. One senator told the Missouri Times the questions seemed to seek a broader pattern of corruption dating back to the campaign.
Before taking office, Greitens had run on a campaign of cleaning up corruption in the Capitol City and “draining the swamp,” referring to the politicians of the state as “corrupt career politicians.”
But that image has been marred as of late, with the confirmation of infidelity by the Governor, as well as allegations of blackmail.
The reports led to a call from five state representatives, asking the Governor to step down from his office.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner announced the opening of an investigation into the matter back in January, and the ex-husband of the woman in question has since been subpoenaed by a grand jury, according to his lawyer.
Still, others point the use of a text-deleting app used by the Governor’s Office, while others still look to the issue of allegedly using a list from a veterans’ charity he founded, The Mission Continues, during his campaign, as signs of impropriety or corruption by the Republican governor.
Later in the afternoon, Sen. Rob Schaaf inquired of Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, noting the reports of investigators visiting lawmakers. Chappelle-Nadal confirmed that two investigators had visited her office, saying that she had been unable to meet with them. She also mentioned the name of one of the two men, a Foley, with an 816 phone number, which is the area code for the area of northwestern Missouri.
The Missouri Times has since confirmed the identity of the two investigators, Jack Foley and William Tisaby.
The Missouri Times reached out to Jim Bennett with Dowd Bennett, who is representing the governor, for comment. Bennett recently has stated that they have not been contacted by law enforcement, and on the phone, when asked about whether they had been made aware of investigators questioning lawmakers, he replied that they had no comment on the matter.
UPDATE, Thursday, February 15, 2018: During the House and Senate press availabilities held on Thursday, House Speaker Todd Richardson, House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, Sen. Mike Kehoe and Sen. Gina Walsh all confirmed that they had spoken with investigators.
Richardson, Walsh and Kehoe all declined to offer any more details, as it was an ongoing investigation, while Beatty told reporters that their questions centered around the governor’s efforts to reach out to her following news of his affair and alleged blackmail in January. The investigators wanted to know the details of the call, but Beatty said they never actually spoke, but instead exchanged voicemails.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.