JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Anyone hoping for fireworks or any juicy news or revelations coming out of the House Special Investigative Committee’s organizational meeting on Tuesday night must’ve been severely disappointed. In the simplest of terms, Rep. Jay Barnes sought to make it clear that the committee’s stance to reporter inquiries was, and would from that point on, be “no comment.”
In a less-than-four-minute meeting, the committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens unanimously voted to hold a closed meeting at the Jefferson City Police Department on Wednesday morning, with no discussion from the committee.
Barnes said that their goal was to uncover facts, and that keeping all of the proceedings open would undermine those attempts. He said that they had a responsibility to protect the identities of witnesses testifying, and asked reporters to respect their privacy.
With more than ten TV news cameras in the hearing room, Chairman Barnes made it very clear that media members would need to work with Trevor Fox in House Communications to make their requests, but also told the media that one pool camera would allowed for stations to access for footage in future hearings.
He also said that at the end, the panel will issue a public report and records after it has finished its work, but also cautioned reporters that efforts to garner information from committee members would be a wasted effort.
“You are not going to get any comment from me,” Barnes said. “You are wasting your time trying.”
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.