JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri House investigation into Gov. Eric Greitens can officially get underway, now that the House Resolution calling for the investigation has been filed.
Rep. Jay Barnes was announced as the chairman of the newly-formed Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, and on Tuesday, he filed HR 5565, which authorizes the committee of seven state representatives to investigate the allegations against the Republican governor.
The committee is comprised of Barnes and Reps. Jeanie Lauer, Kevin Austin, Shaun Rhoads, Don Phillips, Gina Mitten, and Tommie Pierson Jr.
The committee, according to the resolution, will report back to the House within forty days. That would place the deadline in early April, with an exception being made for extensions approved by the committee for a “specified number of days.”
During a Monday afternoon press conference in which the members of the committee were announced, Barnes told reporters that the committee would produce a report, making “determinations based on where the facts lead us.”
House Speaker Todd Richardson confirmed that the committee would have all of the power necessary to the do the job, including the issuing of subpoenas.
According to the resolution, 10 rules have been laid out for the committee. They are as follows:
1. Any hearings will commence at such a time and place as the chairman determines.
2. All hearings will be open to the public except when the chair decides at their discretion to close a portion of the hearing for the testimony of certain witnesses or review evidence.
3. Only members of the committee and special counsel may question witnesses.
4. Only those called to testify as witnesses may do so, Anyone else must petition the chair for permission to testify.
5. All witnesses shall testify under the following oath: “Do you solemnly swear (of affirm) that the testimony you shall give in the hearing now pending before this committee shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
6. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, meaning the committee can compel the attendance of witnesses and require the producing of papers or documents.
7. Subpoenas for witnesses and evidence will be issued by the House Speaker upon request of the committee.
8.The chair will preside over the hearings and make all rulings. The chair may also request assistance from law enforcement to maintain order in said hearings.
9. Witnesses and their attorneys will be kept out of the hearing room until they are called upon.
10. No member or staff of the committee will discuss testimony or evidence except as necessary with other members of the special committee, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Speaker Pro Tem of the House of Representatives, Majority Floor Leader, Minority Floor Leader, or any individual designated by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, until the committee has concluded its investigation.
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.