Tuesday, May 15 - Greitens Picture Case Dropped - House Passes FTW - Tax Reform Stalls and more...

Greitens Declares “Great Victory” as Case Dismissed

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner dropped the invasion of privacy felony charge against Governor Eric Greitens yesterday.  Her explanation was that being called as a witness in the case compromised her ability to prosecute.  Her office said that they may ask for a special prosecutor and re-file the charge.  The possibility of charging the governor with a lesser misdemeanor charge was also mentioned.

The governor, meanwhile, called it “a great victory and a long time coming.”

Indeed, the dismissal removes the governor from immediate danger of a felony conviction.  But House and Senate Republican leadership issued statements that were quick and sharp reminders: the governor still faces multiple serious and credible allegations of wrongdoing.

One Republican bemoaned to me that it was good day for the governor – he’ll remain in office longer, which is bad for Attorney General Josh Hawley and good for Claire McCaskill.

What It Means

We’re getting closer to the point where the Barnes Committee is going to start drawing up articles of impeachment.  When that happens – regardless of whether this case has been refiled or not – the governor’s affair will likely be one of the articles.  It strikes to his moral fitness, particularly with many social conservatives for whom martial fidelity is strong reflection of a person’s character.

But there will be several other articles to the document.  The governor’s unauthorized use of the charity’s donor list, and his false filings to the Missouri Ethics Commission will certainly be part of it.  And depending on the evidence that the Committee has compiled, other articles may include the deliberate concealment of campaign donors, the misappropriation of a grant, the misuse of social media accounts, and the destruction of public records via the Confide app.

So for a governor who’s fighting day-to-day to remain in office it was a great victory.  But for the governor’s efforts to stave off impeachment it didn’t change much.  And for those who want this all behind them to focus on the mid-terms, it was a bad day.

 

SICO Seeks More Evidence

Columbia Tribune reports that “an open session of the committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens was abruptly ended Monday when Chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, said the governor’s campaign team was resisting full compliance with subpoenas for documents and testimony.  Greitens’ campaign committee, Greitens for Missouri, his secret money operation, A New Missouri, and his top political adviser, Austin Chambers, provided ‘a substantial number’ of subpoenaed documents but would not provide testimony and are objecting to the release of other papers, Barnes said…”

This follows the blustery statement from Greitens lawyer Catherine Hanaway that admonished Barnes for not including testimony from campaign staffers.  In hindsight the House Committee took it as an invitation to subpoena her clients which might have been in their best interests.

 

House Passes Freedom to Work

The House passed HJR79 which would put right to work before the voters as a constitutional amendment. It heads now to the Senate which it is probably presents the greatest danger of any piece of legislation of “blowing up” the Senate in the final week.  Minority Leader Gina Walsh and other Dems would surely filibuster this.  And labor reform has been one of Pro Tem Ron Richard’s signature issues.  It’s a combustible combination.

Senate Tax Reform Stalls

Sen. Bill Eigel growled on the floor that commitments weren’t kept and that there would be “consequences,” as a tax reform package stalled last night in the Senate.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.

It looks dead, but with four days left, there’s still time for it to come back to life (and die again) before the end of sessoino.

 

Faughn Booted From Press Corps

One lobbyist joked to me that the Greitens case being dismissed was a good day for Scott Faughn because he could now come out of hiding no longer fearing a subpoena to the case.  On the other hand, the Missouri Capitol News Association voted to expel the Missouri Times from their association – a consequence of Faughn’s $50,000 bag of cash involvement in the effort to bring down the governor.  See the Post-Dispatch report here.

 

Bits

Rep. Jay Barnes put his recent commencement address on his blog.  He spoke to the Lighthouse Prep Academy Class of 2018 about grit, and moral fortitude. See it here.

 

Civic Progress announced their new executive director: Tom Santel “previously served as president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch’s international subsidiary and head of the company’s corporate planning group.”  See it here.

 

Look at this letter sent by yahoo Dennis Lee Chilton, running in the Republican primary in House 135 against Rep. Steve Helms.  At least he got the “payed for” disclosure on the letter….

 

New Committees

Chris Shove formed a candidate committee (Patriots For Shove) to run for House 11 as a Republican.

Jeff Faubion formed a candidate committee (Faubion For 48Th District) to run for House 48 as a Democrat.

Laurel Youmans formed an exemption committee to run for House 132 as a Republican.

Jerry Howard formed a candidate committee (Friends of Jerry Howard) to run for House 151 as a Democrat.

Missy Stallo formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Missy Stallo) to run for Chariton County Clerk as a Democrat.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Brent Baker added Liberty Utilities - Empire District.

Kristin Czubkowski added Brookfield Residential Services, LLC.

Amy Heart deleted The Alliance for Solar Choice.

Trent Ford deleted Holcim Inc.

David Shorr deleted County of Boone, Missouri.

John McGurk terminated his registration.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $25,000 from Friends of Mike Cunningham.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $25,000 from Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $25,000 from Committee to Elect Ron Richard.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rep. John Wiemann.