Missouri House expands panel mulling impeachment of governor

The Missouri House of Representatives Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has filed a civil suit in Cole County Circuit Court against A New Missouri and Greitens for Missouri.
The Missouri House of Representatives Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has filed a civil suit in Cole County Circuit Court against A New Missouri and Greitens for Missouri.

The House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight - formed nearly three months ago to investigate Gov. Eric Greitens' legal situation - holds its first meeting of the special session at 11 a.m. today.

And, under the terms of a new resolution that was introduced Friday night - but not yet approved by the full House - the committee has an added charge to the role it was given three months ago: "To recommend disciplinary actions including, but not limited to, remonstrance or censure or introduce upon report articles of impeachment" against the governor.

The new resolution has fewer rules for the committee than the previous resolution, which the full House approved March 1 by a 154-0 vote.

For instance, the resolution's third rule says: "Only appointed members of the special committee may question witnesses."

That rule follows a request by Greitens' attorneys to cross-examine witnesses who appear before the committee.

During a meeting last week, lawyers Eddie Greim and Ross Garber argued other states' committees formed to consider a governor's impeachment allowed cross-examination by that governor's lawyers.

But Chairman Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, noted only the committee members were involved in the 1994 House process that resulted in impeachment charges lodged against then-Secretary of State Judi Moriarty - who was removed from office after the state Supreme Court convicted her of the impeachment charges.

Still, the resolution includes a section that says: "After all evidence has been presented and all witnesses have been heard, in the discretion of the chairman, counsel for interested parties shall be allowed to make presentations, both orally or in writing, to the committee, subject to reasonable time limitations as determined by the chairman."

If the committee determines it should recommend that Greitens be impeached, the resolution says the committee "shall hold at least one public hearing to consider disciplinary actions or articles of impeachment prior to introducing" them in any report to the full House.

The resolution also says: "A draft of any disciplinary actions or articles of impeachment shall be distributed by the chairman to all members of the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight at least (24) hours and one legislative day prior to such public hearing."

If the committee recommends any disciplinary actions or impeachment, the resolution notes the recommendation must be treated like a bill and read to the House on three separate days.

In addition, the resolution says Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, will appoint two of the special committee members - one from each party - to be floor handlers for the recommendation and to "present the results of the (committee's) investigation and any disciplinary actions or articles of impeachment to the (full) House of Representatives."

The resolution also sets a 10-hour limit "on the total time of floor debate allowed for the purpose of discussing the (committee's) findings (and) considering any disciplinary actions or articles of impeachment," with that time "divided equally between" the two political parties.

The resolution also spells out procedures for voting on any impeachment articles or other discipline, including having the House chief clerk, Adam Crumbliss, deliver any articles that are approved to the state Senate, so its members can choose seven judges to hear the impeachment trial.

Without providing their names, the resolution also says the committee's special counsel - former Supreme Court Judge Edward D. "Chip" Robertson and former Pettis County Prosecutor Mark Kempton - "shall, under the direction of the managers, present and prosecute the articles of impeachment adopted by the House of Representatives before the jurists elected by the Senate to final conclusion."

Richardson has added three members to the seven lawmakers who've been meeting since early March, so that the panel now includes seven Republicans and three Democrats - including four lawyers, two former law enforcement officers, two business people, one teacher/minister and a former deputy regional director for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

The new members are Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield, an attorney; Rep. J. Eggleston, R-Maysville, a business owner; and Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, the former McCaskill aide.

Records provided to the Associated Press show the committee already has spent more than $14,000, since starting its work in March.

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