Leader Of House Review Of Greitens To File Ethics Complaint
The chairman of a Missouri House committee investigating former Gov. Eric Greitens said Monday that the lawmakers no longer have the authority to act now that Greitens has resigned, but the lawmaker pledged to file an ethics complaint in hopes of continuing a review.
The House committee was investigating allegations of personal and political misconduct against Greitens, including claims that he slapped and shoved a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair and allegations that he took a donor list without permission from nonprofit he founded and used it for political fundraising. Greitens has repeatedly denied allegations of criminal misconduct.
Investigatory committee Chairman Jay Barnes, a Republican, in a letter to colleagues said he believes the committee turned up evidence of "multiple acts constituting crimes, misconduct, and acts of moral turpitude" that would warrant his impeachment. But Greitens resigned on his own June 1.
That leaves the committee without the authority to continue its investigation, Barnes said.
"I understand this may disappoint some of you — and some in the public — who demand further accountability for Eric Greitens," Barnes wrote. "But we cannot investigate alleged illegal activity by someone else with actions of our own that are either illegal or create problematic precedent for future legislators."
Instead, Barnes plans to file a complaint against Greitens' campaign and A New Missouri — a nonprofit that promoted his agenda — with the Missouri Ethics Commission next week.
The nonprofit has faced criticism because it's able to accept unlimited campaign donations without disclosing its donors. Barnes in his letter said he believes A New Missouri was "a criminal enterprise from its inception — designed to illegally skirt donation limits and conceal the identities of major donors to Eric Greitens and ballot initiatives relating to right-to-work that were supported by the former governor."
Attorney Catherine Hanaway in response said that authorities have known about claims against Greitens for "a long time," but none have filed any criminal charges against the campaign or nonprofit.
"I am really not sure what Representative Barnes hopes to accomplish," Hanaway said in a statement.
Barnes' ethics complaint would be the second action taken against A New Missouri in recent weeks.
On Friday, attorney Elad Gross sued the nonprofit for allegedly breaking state nonprofit records laws for not providing him with financial and accounting documents.
Hanaway said they will file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit by Gross, who she said is "clearly a Democrat operative trying to prolong the Greitens saga for political purposes."
"The law Mr. Gross is trying to sue under was intended to protect widows and orphans supported by charities," she said in a statement, "NOT political hacks looking for the next shot to take."