First, let’s start with the big picture. We have a stubborn governor and legislature whose patience is running out. Despite the House’s demonstration of working late last night, this is more than “a distraction.” This drama is dominating the capitol scene.
Second, beware of over-exaggeration: this is not a civil war; it’s not going to rip the Republican Party apart. There’s no underlying long-term schism. Once Greitens resigns or is removed, there will be a relatively quick return to normalcy.
But neither should the situation be dismissed. It is extraordinary. And there will be lingering damage. It may compound Republican losses in legislative races, and Claire McCaskill may once again escape defeat. Additionally, governor’s attacks – on legislators who are truly public servants, on the media which does report the facts, on prosecutors who do uphold the law, on lobbyists who honorably represent their clients – will contribute to residual erosion in Missourians’ trust in these institutions.
Finally, don’t overlook the extent to which Greitens’ responses to his misdeeds have damaged his image in the building. Greitens fatigue is setting in. There’s an increasing sense of “enough with the blaming everyone else. Just take responsibility for what you’ve done.”
BOOM: Legislative Leaders Ask Greitens to Resign
In what appeared to be coordinated press releases, Senate Pro Tem Ron Richard, and the House leadership – Speaker Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, and Floor Leader Rob Vescovo – called on Governor Eric Greitens to resign.
This came at the end of a day which started with Attorney General Josh Hawley announcing that his office had found evidence that the governor had engaged in criminal behavior.
The governor’s response was to deride Hawley’s abilities as a lawyer.
And of course, Greitens finished the day vowing that he not to resign.
What It Means
This tips the scales if there ever was a doubt. There’s now a majority of state senators calling for the governor to resign. And in the House, where leadership is big deal, seeing the top three members in lockstep sends a message to the body. Meanwhile Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty filed a resolution to begin the impeachment process. Among many members the debate has shifted from whether to impeach, to when.
Greitens’ lawyer Jim Martin says there’s no wrongdoing. “We’ve done a thorough review of this matter, and we know that there’s no wrongdoing here. In fact, there’s nothing close to wrongdoing. Eric built The Mission Continues from scratch, and he helped thousands of veterans by doing so. The Attorney General held a completely frivolous and inappropriate press conference on a non-issue.”
Earth to Martin: Greitens first said he didn’t use the donor list. Then he pled guilty to the Missouri Ethics Commission admitting he did use the list. Then the Post-Dispatch reported an email trail of the donor list coming from Greitens’ for-profit entity to the campaign staff. This isn’t the AG’s evidence. This is just what’s public information.
The first-rate Jason Hancock reports that “the statute of limitations [on TMC donor list crime] expires April 22, meaning any charges would likely have to be filed by close of business Friday.”
So look for an announcement from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner on this new charge, followed by Greitens calling it a witch hunt.
There’s a rumor that Hawley will add an additional charge involving Greitens’ apparent misstatement in his Missouri Ethics filing, referring that evidence to the Cole County prosecutor. One source sees that happening as soon as next week.
Rumorville: Tape, Schnape
A strong source says that the House Investigative Committee viewed the “missing/malfunctioning” tape that Greitens defense team said contained inconsistencies that would help their case. The committee was unmoved. “They still believe her.”
Tweet of the Day
Jamilah Nasheed… I am calling on the @MSHPTrooperGHQ to protect everyone in the state capitol because I believe Eric is dangerous and delusional.
One MOScouter think the legislature should act sooner rather than later: The whole special session for impeachment plan doesn't make any sense. First, it's a waste of money... [also] How do we know he won't be making veto decisions based on who's with him? Decide whether he gets to remain Governor, then send the bills to him if he survives or Parson if he doesn't…
Matthiesen LA Arrested
How is this not the top story? Because the governor’s situation is so absurd.
A staffer for Rep. Mark Matthiesen was arrested in the capitol yesterday. Word in the rotunda was that it involved a sting operation concerning underage sex. Yikers! Yeah, in case your spouse thinks their work place has drama…
Senate 17 Quarter
One reader pointed out that in running through the fundraising numbers, I missed some nuance in the Senate 17 numbers. The candidates there – Reps. Lauren Arthur and Kevin Corlew – had to file a report a month ago after their nominations. So the fundraising totals were actually higher than I reported. In fact Arthur raised over $100K this quarter. The cash on-hand numbers were correct showing that she leads Corlew with money in the bank: $161K to $68K.
Dem: Don’t Forget Dillion!
In Senate 16, the Democratic candidate Ryan Dillon out raised all three Republican candidates (once you back out Rep. Diane Franklin’s self-funding). He raised $14K and now has $58K on-hand. Again, if you back-out Franklin’s self-funding and Justin Brown’s contribution from his dad’s committee, Dillon would have the most cash on-hand.
A Democrat represented this senate district before Brown, and Dems like their candidate. They’re hoping to put it in play again this cycle.
eMailbag on Senate 32
Your latest poll shows what a commanding lead Bill White has in the 32nd. He starts the race up 26% over Rob O'Brian and has a $175,000 cash on hand advantage. Not to mention, he's been running an active campaign across the district for over a year now.
Loretta Thomas formed a candidate committee (Friends For Thomas 157) to run for House 157 as a Democrat.
Charles Triplett formed a candidate committee (Triplett For Mo House) to run for House 98 as a Democrat.
Jessica Merrick formed a candidate committee (Merrickforstate) to run for House 20 as a Democrat.
Rural Progress was formed. It’s a PAC. Its treasurer is Nathaniel Irvin.
Rep. Gary Cross amended his campaign committee to run for statewide office in 2020. See it here.
Scott Swain added Missouri Amusement Machine Operators, LLC.
Caroline Hoover added Fred Dreiling LLC.
Citizens For Ron Rammaha - $10,000 from Ron Rammaha.
Citizens for a Safer St. Louis - $19,552 from Citizens for Safety.
Happy birthdays to Rep. Nate Walker, former Rep. Mike Colona, Amanda Good, Maria Altman, Jane Bogetto, Lori Becker, Aaron Hedlund, Elizabeth Weber, and Charlie Hinderliter.
My son’s 4th grade class is in the building today. So if I look busy it’s because I don’t want him reporting back to his mom that I spend my days just standing around.