The House Republicans are expected to caucus this afternoon where leadership will preview what’s in the House Special Investigative Committee report. It’s expected that Senate leadership and the governor’s office have been, or will be given, some courtesy heads-up about the report.
The House will publish the report on its website at 5PM, and will hold a press conference at 6PM. (The scheduled Charity Softball tournament has been pushed back to next week). Rumor is that the House will adjourn for the week, but look for the Senate to come in – at least briefly – tomorrow. The Senate had already scheduled a day off on Monday (April 16), the House will likely follow suit.
To sum up, the report will be issued this evening, and then everyone will pretty much scatters until Tuesday.
One Republican legislator described the mood… “Remember the feeling when a sibling was in trouble and you were waiting for dad to get home to discipline them?”
Who’s the dad in this scenario? I asked. “The public.”
From another building denizen: “[This] may be one of the most consequential days in Missouri politics we have had in decades, not spoken with hyperbole. This report dropping will have huge ramifications…”
ROTO (Reminder of the Obvious)
Yes, this is a big deal inside the building. It’s actually a big deal everywhere. This will be national news. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USAToday, and AP into smaller papers across the country.
A Brief History of How We Got Here
After the scandal broke on the night of the State of the State speech – about three months ago – a few legislators called for Governor Eric Greitens to resign. However, most legislators, including the House leadership stop short. They called the revelations concerning, and insisted that judgement should be withheld until an investigation could ascertain the facts.
St. Louis City Prosecutor Kim Gardner opened an investigation; a grand jury issued an indictment of the governor. Speaker Todd Richardson appointed a special investigative House committee. The House unanimously approved a resolution outlining the work and operations of the committee, chaired by Rep. Jay Barnes. Greitens’ lawyer Ed Dowd “welcomed” the investigation.
Today the committee will issue its report.
During the past few days the Greitens’ team has worked to prevent its release. Aside from the legal team’s attempt to say that it will prejudice the future St. Louis jury pool, there have other efforts: phone calls from Greitens’ supporters to House leadership asking that they not release the report, personal pitches to individual legislators to sign a letter asking not to release the report.
These attempts have failed. It’s easy to see why. See above: everyone said we need an investigation, everyone voted for it, everyone welcomed it.
What To Look For
Rumors in the building are that some of the testimony will have details of the affair which could range from kinky to disturbing. I have not seen the report. I do not know what’s in it. But here are the big worries for supporters of the governor. Here’s what could make the scandal much worse…
First, are there any new allegations of criminal activity? That would be a big deal and would increase the likelihood of impeachment proceedings starting soon.
Second, are there new revelations that – while not criminal – are so deviant that Republicans simply can’t live with? “Moral turpitude” is one of the constitutional reasons for impeachment.
Finally, perhaps most politically toxic, are their allegations that parts of the affair were non-consensual? It could add a MeToo element to the governor’s problems.
I have been told that the Republican women legislators plan to caucus after the report is issued. It’s possible they’d issue a statement tonight or tomorrow.
The House Special Investigative Committee has extended their time. Do they continue investigating the case of the Mission Continues donor list? Do they begin the process of impeachment? Do they do both?
For perspective remember: this is only one event among many events in this on-going saga. What today’s report will certainly do is add more baggage to the governor who is in the middle of multiple investigations…
The House Special Investigative Committee isn’t closing their investigation with this report.
The governor has a criminal trial starting next month.
The attorney general is investigating possible misuse of the Mission Continues resources.
The Missouri Ethics Commission – which the governor has let lapse into immobility – has a complaint against the governor before it.
A lawsuit against the governor’s use of Confide is working its way through the courts.
And of course, the assumption is that the button-lipped Federal Bureau of Investigations is not sitting in their office playing Asteroids while all of this is going on.
And this is only what we know.
Oh Yeah… Transportation Funding
Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Brown has signaled that he’s interested in not fully funding the educational foundation formula. He would take some of the money and move it into the education transportation line. On the one hand, it wouldn’t change the overall amount that school receive, and yet it might. And that has some education advocates scratching their heads.
During the House Budget hearings Rep. Lyle Rowland said he asked superintendents if they would rather have fully funded formula or more money for transportation. He said they prefer full funding of the formula. The reason is because the governor can’t withhold from the formula, but the transportation funding is easy pickings during withholds.
One theory on Brown’s play is that he known House Budget Scott Fitzpatrick values fully funding the formula, so he would make this change to use as a bargaining chip in Senate-House negotiations.
One lobbyist thought that might be a bad idea: Don’t poke Fitz….
The governor appointed Adrienne D. Atzemis, Nancy E. Birch, Cheryl J. Cozette, Donna J. Erickson, Susan A. Fluegel, Terra N. Frazier, Maynard Bill Jones, Jamie S. Kondis, Courtney L. Kovachevich, Sandra McLaughlin, Sarah E. Mullen, Nick Myers, William C. Prince, Danielle T. Smith, Joy A. Sweigart, and Jeanie M. Thies to the Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board.
Ashley Manlove formed a candidate committee (Manlove For Missouri) to run for House 26 as a Democrat.
Tom Johnson formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Tom Johnson) to run for St. Charles County Council District 1 as a Republican.
Vince Lutterbie formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Vince Lutterbie) to run for House 51 as a Democrat.
Renita Green formed a candidate committee (People For Renita Green) to run for House 147 as a Democrat.
IAFF Local 781 Legislative PAC was formed. Its treasurer is Donnie Rickman II.
Ernest Calvert formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Ernest Calvert For Camden County Clerk) to run for Camden County Clerk as a Republican.
Maggie Tuck formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Maggie Tuck) to run for Greene County Clerk as a Democrat.
John Burnett formed a candidate committee (John Burnett For Jackson County) to run for Jackson County Legislature District 2 as a Democrat
Cheryl Hibbeler formed a candidate committee (Friends Of Cheryl Hibbeler) to run for St. Charles County Council District 1 as a Democrat.
John Foster formed a candidate committee (Foster A Better Missouri) to run for House 102 as a Democrat.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill seeks U.S. Senator Staff Assistant. “Senator McCaskill’s office seeks a Staff Assistant for the Kansas City, Missouri office. Responsibilities include: answering and routing constituent calls, greeting and assisting constituents in the office, responding to constituent concerns and requests, working with interns, and in conjunction with outreach staff, event planning and community outreach. A successful candidate will be highly motivated, able to manage and prioritize multiple projects and tasks, detail-oriented, and able to maintain a high level of professionalism and discretion at all times. The candidate should have strong written, verbal and interpersonal skills and the ability to interact effectively with constituents and staff members. Interested applicants should email their cover letter and resume to email@example.com no later than Tuesday, April 17, 2018.”
Diane Vuylsteke, Guy Black, Lewis Mills and Frank Plescia added Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP; and deleted Bryan Cave LLP.
Kristy Nelson added Epic Strategies.
Brian Smith added Missouri Rural Crisis Center.
Joanna Grossman deleted The Good Food Institute Inc.
Chris Mitchell deleted Act Inc. and its affiliate Act Aspire.
Freedom to Work - $10,000 from McDonald Logistics Inc.
Six PAC - $5,001 from Missouri Republican Leadership PAC.
Find the Cures - $14,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.
Missouri Democratic State Committee - $25,000 from Grassroots Victory PAC.
Happy birthdays to Heidi Kolkmeyer, Dave Leipholtz, and Mik Chester.