Q&A #1: Did Greitens Photograph The Woman?
Short answer: This was a private matter that occurs years ago….
AP’s David Lieb put a recording of his interview with Governor Eric Greitens up on Soundcloud. Listen to it here. The governor falls back onto a scripted “this was a private matter…” answer over and over when he doesn’t want to answer a question. (See Scott Charton’s twitter-summary here).
But this non-denial has made a rather hot topic over whether he took a picture of the woman without her consent – as the woman says he did on the husband’s secret tape. He was repeated asked this question from reporters at his budget presentation, and he repeatedly refused to answer.
Why It Matters
According to ImpeachableOffenses.Net, it’s a crime. And that makes it an impeachable offense. Invasion of privacy (the alleged picture): Regardless of whether Mr. Greitens committed any crime akin to blackmail, if he simply took a picture, without the woman’s consent and while she was fully or partially unclothed, that would be a plain violation of Missouri’s invasion of privacy statute, RSMo 565.252… The bottom line here is that, if the woman is telling the truth, Mr. Greitens committed at least one crime under Missouri law – invasion of privacy for taking a non-consensual nude photograph. The offense is only a misdemeanor, but as noted above, Missouri’s impeachment provisions set no minimum level of severity for impeachable offenses.
Q&A #2: Who’s on What Side of the Greitens Scandal?
Short answer: The Greitens scandal has spawned a GOP vs GOP battle.
Dems are ambivalent. They know intellectually that its best for their party if Greitens stays governor as long as possible. One told me yesterday that “the creep factor” of him tying up the woman in his basement will never go away. That makes him non-threatening as a political force in the future, and it’s obviously a benefit to Claire McCaskill to have Greitens as the face of the Republican Party going into this tough election year. However many Dems think – politics aside – he should go. This ambivalence has them largely on the sidelines – except for the Roy Temple and Jane Duecker types who just can’t stay away from a good fight.
The battle is really among Republicans. Broadly speaking there are two camps: the new insiders vs the coalition of enemies.
The new insiders are folks who weren’t on the inside before. But they rode in with Greitens’ outsider talk and now they have access. They don’t want to give away that access.
The coalition of enemies is partly the “old insiders,” folks who supported Kinder or Brunner, mercantile interests who don’t like the governor’s policies, and conservatives who are repulsed by his hypocrisy.
For those trying to gauge support Greitens has in the legislature, it’s messy. These two camps aren’t draw along similar fault lines of the past. There are plenty of “strange bedfellows.”
One example of this GOP vs GOP split boiling over into media is conservative talker (and new insider) Jamie Allman launching a twitter-attack on Missouri Times’ Scott Faughn. See it here.
Here’s a video of the governor presenting his budget. Around the 13-minute mark is when questions from the press start – a lot of them asking about the affair, Confide etc. Once the questions start, it’s about 15 minutes of the governor ducking, dodging and giving no-answer answers.
It’s probably unavoidable that the governor goes through this to get through this. Ideally he’d answer the questions to get through this phase faster, but stepping in front of reporters shows he’s not in bunker mode anymore. And that’s an improvement.
Pull Quote: Public colleges and universities would see their funding cut by roughly $70 million under a budget plan laid out by Gov. Eric Greitens on Monday… Dan Haug, the governor’s budget director, said that while the overall budget is growing by $200 million next fiscal year, federal tax cuts passed by Congress last year and a state-level tax cut bill passed in 2015 are expected to reduce revenue by nearly $300 million. Also contributing to the budget woes, Haug noted, was continued growth in Medicaid spending, which is expected to increase to $11 billion next fiscal year from $10.7 billion. The $70 million cut to higher education institutions represents a 7.7 percent reduction from the current fiscal year. Last year, lawmakers called for a 6 percent reduction to the higher education budget. Greitens deepened those cuts to 9 percent when he signed the budget into law… The steep cuts to higher education in back-to-back years could face resistance from lawmakers. “I think a desire of a lot of people in the legislature would be to not do that,” said Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick, a Shell Knob Republican who chairs the House budget committee.
Civil Service Reform
In the budget, the governor calls for “$29.4 million in new funding to provide a $650 salary increase for all state employees making $50,000 or less. This funding will be provided if the Missouri legislature enacts critical reforms to the state civil service system — to ensure that we can move employees to where they help the most, reward the best for superior performance, and take rapid action against those who fail our citizens and their colleagues…”
I couldn’t find anyone in the House or Senate that’s filed a civil service reform bill for the governor. On the Senate side, Sen. Mike Kehoe plans to file one later this week. However it’s not one that the governor’s office has given input on. It’s unclear when the legislature will see what the governor is proposing on this front.
There’s a similar criticism among Republicans concerning the governor’s tax reform plan. Where is it? And why wasn’t it here a month ago during pre-filing? Sens. Bill Eigel and Andrew Koenig authored tax reform bills which are working their way through the legislative process. Soon they will be merged, voted out of committee, and headed to the floor for debate. The governor’s plan is going to be late to process.
Also – the governor office made $11.8 million in new restrictions to the current budget. UMKC Free Enterprise Center ($6.6 million) and Managed Care ($3.8 million) were the biggest cuts. See the list here.
Driving the Day
Rep. Justin Alferman’s HB 1303 (lobbyist gift ban) gets a Senate hearing at 9AM in the Senate Lounge.
The Senate is expected to go back to Sen. Ed Emery’s utility bill (SB 564) for debate today.
Look for some big checks to start showing up in the Eastern Missouri Senate PAC. This is the Republican Senate majority’s committee focused on protecting Sen. Paul Wieland this year. With limited competitive races this year, Wieland’s re-election is a high priority. A tipster says we’ll see dollars following from termed Senate leaders Ron Richard and Mike Kehoe. It’ll be a show of force that they intend to leave the Republican Senate majority in good shape even as they exit.
Governor Eric Greitens appointed Christopher Slinkard as Director of the Division of Employment Security. And Dorothy Taylor as State Supervisor of the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.
Lobbyist Gary Burton won the drawing at the Senate Charity Bowl last night – and donated the winning back.
eMailbag: In Praise of Dempsey
K12 is a big pickup for Tom Dempsey. He’s steadily getting traction as a contract lobbyist and has the personality/reputation to be a successful bi-partisan, trusted voice in the hallways. In addition to K12, he’s picking up a nice list of clients with AT&T, American Concrete Paving Association, Grow Missouri, Renovate America, RAI, Luminus and STL Science Center. Remember, this is a guy who took a self-imposed one year cooling off period before it was law because he thought it was the right thing to do. Bottom line, not many Tom Dempsey haters out there, even when he was in office.
The Missouri Department of Social Services seeks Missouri Medicaid Director (MO HealthNet Division Director). “This position will make key policy decisions and shape administrative strategies to enhance the operating efficiency of Medicaid and related initiatives across the state. This position requires significant interaction with Missouri’s General Assembly, Missouri health care providers and health plans, other state departments, and numerous local and federal government agencies. Excellent communications skills and the ability to effectively engage stakeholders on important policy matters are essential. Strong leadership and creative problem-solving skills are critical…” See it here.
Kyna Iman added Golden Entertainment, and K12.
Richard McIntosh, David McCracken, and Zach Brunnert added Mediware Information Systems Inc.
Josh Schisler added Missouri Missing.
Daryl Duwe, Chris Moody and Angela Schulte deleted U.S. Cellular.
Find the Cures - $60,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.
Happy birthdays to Ken Jacob, Kyle Aubuchon, and Jordan Overstreet.