JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In a letter to those who served on the committee investigating then-Gov. Eric Greitens, Rep. Jay Barnes calls the investigation incomplete but says the committee “is not the appropriate entity for further investigation.”
“As chairman of this Committee, I am preparing a complaint to be filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission against Greitens for Missouri and A New Missouri. It should be ready for filing next week. Please let me know if you would like to add your name as a complainant,” Barnes wrote.
The House Special Investigative Committee on Government Oversight was formed at the end of February 2018 to look into the allegations surrounding Greitens and to get to the truth. While the investigation started with an allegations of blackmail and invasion of privacy during an extramarital affair, the committee soon started looking into campaign finance violations, ethics violations, and much more.
Just hours after a Cole County Circuit County judge ordered A New Missouri to produce documents to the committee, Greitens announced his resignation as governor. As part of the deal Greitens struck with the St. Louis prosecutors’ office, the felony computer tampering case — for stealing The Mission Continues donor list — would be dropped if he resigned from office. In the deal, Greitens recognized there was enough evidence for the case to proceed to trial.
Greitens’ resignation put the committee’s investigation into uncertainty. They dropped their subpoena for records and held no more hearings. At the close of the special session, which was called solely to look into potential disciplinary actions against Greitens, the committee’s ability to continue its work also closed.
“At the time of his resignation, the Committee was very close to finishing its investigation of credible allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence. 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,” Barnes said in a letter to his fellow committee members Reps. Don Phillips, Gina Mitten, Jeanie Lauer, Kevin Austin, Tommie Pierson, Jay Eggleston, Curtis Trent, and Greg Razor — Shawn Rhoads was a member of the committee but has since resigned from the legislature.
“Based on the documents in our possession, I believe Eric Greitens faced a near-certain criminal conviction in the now-dismissed case on tampering with computer evidence. In addition to what was already publicly known, the Committee possesses a document showing that Greitens originally obtained the donor list from The Mission Continues under false pretenses. That document presented the possibility that additional charges for fraud may have been available to state or federal prosecutors.
“But our investigation was not complete.”
According to Barnes, the committee obtained documentary evidence that suggests Greitens may have engaged in criminal fraud in a grant application and its award from the John Templeton Foundation and Washington University. The documents also show Greitens spent up to $66,600 of grant funds for political purposes not authorized by the grant.
The committee also had documents that “raise suspicions” of literary fraud regarding Resilience, Greitens’ best-selling book. The evidence they had suggested that the assertion that the book was a series of letters between himself and a fellow Navy SEAL suffering from PTSD who called him after having been arrested and charged with a crime was false.
They also had questions into the use of Confide, concealing donors, and much more. But with the end of Greitens’ time as governor, the future of the investigation was unclear. Some called for its end, while others called for its continuance. Up until now, Barnes had been silent on the issue.
“Accordingly, this Committee is not the appropriate entity for further investigation,” wrote Barnes.
Under the four primary legislative purposes of the House — legislation, budgeting, oversight of state governmental entities, and impeachment — continuing the investigation does not fall under any of them, according to Barnes.
“There are at least three state governmental entities with potential jurisdiction to investigate A New Missouri: the Attorney General, the Cole County Prosecuting Attorney, and the Missouri Ethics Commission,” said Barnes. “As chairman of this Committee, I am preparing a complaint to be filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission against Greitens for Missouri and A New Missouri. It should be ready for filing next week. Please let me know if you would like to add your name as a complainant.”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.