Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Rumorville: Feebees Asking About TMC

I’ve spoken to two people who say with 100% certainty that the FBI has been asking questions about The Mission Continues.  And – both say – their questions deal with several areas, not just the donor list.

One veteran capitol observer cautions that that the G-men are known for asking wide-ranging questions and there’s a wide gulf between asking questions and the deep drill that constitutes an investigation.


Ethics Commission Appts Coming

Alissa Zhu writes (see it here) in the Springfield News-Leader that “Gov. Eric Greitens’ spokesman, Parker Briden, told the News-Leader the office will make appointments to three vacant seats on the Missouri Ethics Commission before its next scheduled meeting on April 25.

‘There shouldn't be any disruptions in their ability to work,’ Briden said. The office is waiting on nominations from political party committees, he said. On Thursday, terms expired for three out of six members of the bipartisan ethics commission. Once the governor's nominees are announced, they must be approved by the Senate before they can serve…”

One Workaround

Concern has been raised from several different folks – including members of the Senate – that Greitens choosing the Ethics Commissioners would constitute a terrible conflict of interest.  An ethics complaint has been filed against the governor alleging that his previous consent order with the commission contained misstatements.

One reader suggested that a way to alleviate this conflict would be for the governor to publicly recluse himself from the appointment process.  This person said the governor could send an open letter to Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson requesting that he find the individuals to serve.  The governor would promise to appoint whatever names the lieutenant governor offered.


Another Conflict?

These swirling investigations are creating more than just that one potential conflict of interest.  One reader pointed out that Susan McGraugh was mentioned yesterday has having applied to fill the circuit judge vacancy created by the resignation of Robert Dierker.  McGraugh was quoted in a recent Springfield News-Leader as an expert for the Greitens’ legal team… “Asked about any evidence the woman consented to the photograph, Greitens' lobbyist did not comment and referred the News-Leader to Susan McGraugh, a professor of law at Saint Louis University, whom Greitens' defense team asked to speak on the record about the matter. Regarding consent as an element of the invasion of privacy statute, McGraugh raised the possibility that by agreeing to go with Greitens into his basement, that may have been a sign of implicit consent to what happened next.

And on the 22nd Circuit judicial commission that will pick finalists….  Rita Burlison appointed by Dowd Bennett partner Jay Nixon and James Dowd, cousin to Ed Dowd…  Ah the web…


Hawley Kid Glovin’ Greitens?

Will Schmitt dropped a big article following up on criticism of Attorney General Josh Hawley’s timid investigation of the Greitens Administration’s use of Confide.  (See it here).  Senator Claire McCaskill tweets that her “jaw dropped to the floor” reading the article.

Pull Quote: The attorney general's office Tuesday downplayed concerns about conflicts of interest, pushed back against the notion that Hawley went easy on Greitens, and attempted to reframe Moore's comments about the legal doctrine of executive privilege…

Gabriel Gore, an attorney for Dowd Bennett — the law firm also defending Greitens against a felony charge of invasion of privacy — was present while Hawley's investigators were quizzing several of Greitens' top aides, Moore has said previously. But it was "not unusual" that Greitens staffers were accompanied by legal counsel due to the possibility of civil litigation, Hawley's office said Tuesday when asked about Dowd Bennett's presence.

Hawley's office said Tuesday that it understood that Dowd Bennett was representing the staffers individually as employees of the governor's office. This does not quite align with the account given by Parker Briden, Greitens' press secretary. "Dowd Bennett does not represent the Governor’s senior staff, nor has Dowd Bennett ever been 'on retainer,'" Briden told the News-Leader in an email…

Also Tuesday, six attorneys who worked for either former Gov. Mel Carnahan or former Attorney General Chris Koster publicized an open letter in which they slammed Hawley's "halfhearted" and "unbelievable" investigation… The attorneys — Andrew Hirth, Joanna Trachtenberg, Joe Bindbeutel, Bradley Ketcher, Ronald Holliger and Michael Wolff — questioned Hawley's willingness to believe that the governor's office would resort to such secrecy for communications about mundane matters like agreeing on a time for a meeting. "It makes no sense to coordinate the time, date, and location of meetings through a messaging app that shows only a few words at a time and immediately deletes the message after one reading," wrote the group of former state employees, which includes a former Missouri Supreme Court justice and former appellate judge….


“3rd Anniversary”

A couple MOScouters sent some thoughts on today being the “third anniversary” of the governor’s basement incident.

From one, a timeline….

- Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015: Eric Greitens creates exploratory committee Greitens For Missouri at Missouri Ethics Commission.

- Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015: Tom Schweich commits suicide.

- Tuesday, March 3, 2015: Schweich funeral including Jack Danforth eulogy.

- Monday, March 9, 2015: MOScout reports $50K Greitens For Missouri donation from August Busch III.

- Wednesday, March 11, 2015: Fox News publishes commentary by Greitens on moral leadership

- Tuesday, March 17, 2015: MOScout reports is launched.

- Saturday, March 21, 2015: Greitens’ basement episode.

- Tuesday, March 24, 2015: Mission Continues list apparently in possession of Greitens campaign.

- Sunday, March 29, 2015: Spence Jackson found dead in his Jefferson City apartment, apparent suicide.

Point is, Greitens was in the race and had already begun moralizing when he started his affair which allegedly lasted through his September formal announcement.


And this, from another reader, which asks a big question…

Today is the third anniversary of something happening in the basement of Eric Greitens’ former mansion on Maryland Avenue in St. Louis’ Central West End… a central question has remained unanswered: Why would Greitens, who ran as a devoted husband and father, as an outsider committed to ethics, and as a highly disciplined, mission-focused leader, take the risk of an extramarital affair?

That initial episode three years ago now threatens Greitens not just politically – that damage is already severe, perhaps fatal for any future in office – but legally. The Kansas City Star reports subpoenas indicate investigations by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney, the Attorney General and a bipartisan Missouri House committee are broadening their scopes beyond the affair. Now the subject matter apparently includes campaign finance matters.

There is no doubt Greitens had political ambitions since his youth. In 2009 he reserved website URLs including Greitens for president, governor and senator. The first Missouri Scout report on “Greitens for Gov?” was posted July 8, 2014, days after he stepped down as CEO of The Mission Continues. Greitens had launched TMC in 2007 to help fellow veterans. He told the Post-Dispatch he was stepping down, in part, because he wanted to support his pregnant wife.

Why did he take this risk?


Christian County GOP Doesn’t Censure Blunt

KY3 ran a report on the Christian County Republican Central Committee’s denial of Ray Weter’s attempt to run as a Republican.  See it here.

But one MOScouter on the ground says that at last night’s meeting, the issue of Weter didn’t even come up.   However there was a fresh “point of controversy… discussion of a potential letter of censure to Senator [Roy] Blunt.  At the previous February meeting a committee woman expressed disappointment at Senator Blunt’s recent vote to pass the most recent appropriations

bill that allowed funding of Planned Parenthood in the amount of half a billion dollars per year.  The committee woman believed that Senator Blunt had not kept his campaign promise to ‘defund Planned Parenthood.’ The issue was tabled at that last meeting.   This meeting the issue was again addressed by the CCRCC. Present at this meeting was a representative from Blunt’s office.  This representative spoke to the issue.  Following discussion, the committee then voted not to censure but to only issue a formal letter…”


Schmitt Launches Missouri First

Treasurer Eric Schmitt launched Missouri First (see it here) which includes the “elimination of a single-use restriction on borrowers, the expansion of eligibility criteria for agricultural loans and a streamlined application process” for the linked deposit program.


Bad Blood in House 118

The race to replace Ben Harris is heating up.  There’s three Republicans and two Democrats filed for the swing district near Potosi, Missouri.  Democratic Barbara Marco candidate writes on Facebook… “Just left a meet the candidate event at Pine Mountain Cafe in DeSoto. Met Kyle Bone - one of my GOP opponents for the 118. He mocked me, insulted me, and repeatedly said "I dont care" when I tried to talk. Just like a grade school bully. On my way to Washington County St Pats celebration at the Elks Club….”


eMailbag: House Line Too Conservative?

One Republican legislator writes… “I think more House seats are on the line… And if the legislature doesn't deliver results, why would R voters turn out? Do you think passing the visiting scholars bill or asbestos tort reform is going to move voters? I certainly don't… Sure, some districts are so red it doesn't matter. But every R rep in the suburbs should be on alert, if they are not already. November is still pretty far out, but we only have two months to pass meaningful legislation. If we don't, it's going to be a bloodbath.…”


New Candidate Filings

Saundra McDowell filed for Auditor as a Republican.

Ayanna Shivers filed for Senate 10 as a Democrat.

Jeanine Molloff filed for House 72 as a Democrat.

Mariah Vandiver filed for House 80 as a Democrat.

Denny Braun filed for House 105 as a Democrat.

Theresa Schmitt filed for House 120 as a Democrat.


$5K+ Contributions

Progress KC - $50,000 from Heavy Constructors Association Industry Advancement Fund.

Progress KC - $20,000 from Burns & McDonnell.



Happy birthdays to Thomas Long, Clay Rodgers, and Trent Summers.