Missouri House committee expands its investigation on Greitens

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The special committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens met at the Capital again Tuesday, after expanding its probe to include the governor's ties to the charity he founded before running for office.

On Friday, Greitens was charged with felony computer tampering for allegedly using a donor list from the Mission Continues to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.

The special committee met for about 90 minutes Tuesday. Once again, it was held behind closed doors and members of the press and public were not allowed to attend.

Members did not take questions after, only promising another report would be released soon on the Mission Continues matter.

Two St. Louis lawmakers said both chambers are rolling on with business and trying to limit distraction.

"The House has been very busy over the last week or so, last week we debated and passed a pretty substantial tax cut," said state Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin. "This week we've been debating a whole bunch of different issues, everything from medical marijuana to transportation, to agriculture -- issues that really impact the whole state."

The bill to legalize medical marijuana for people with certain illnesses passed the House Tuesday night.

Lawmakers are also debating the tax code changes alongside proposals to increase the gas tax or vehicle registration fees to pay for the state's backlog of road improvements.

They are also working on the state budget, which must be passed in the next three weeks.

A House committee also debated Tuesday whether to hold the state's vote on a right-to-work referendum, known as "Prop A" In August or November.

"To be honest, we've actually passed quite a lot more this year already than we did last year. We seem to be just chugging along there as if nothing is going on," said Rep. Peter Meredith, D-St. Louis. "To be honest, I wish we would pause and deal with the problem that we need to deal with. But on the other hand, there is some good pieces of legislation happening that I think it's good that we're moving forward with."

Some lawmakers have called for Greitens to resign, while others have also called for impeachment proceedings to begin immediately. Others are in a camp of waiting until the regular session concludes on May 18th and allowing the special committee to work through the end of the regular session and into a special session if needed.

Dogan said that "wait and see" approach is better than immediate impeachment proceedings because it will maximize the legislature's productivity in the final weeks.

"If you're going to do something where you recommend discipline against the governor, whether that's a censure or impeachment, whatever that's going to look like you have to make sure that case is legally airtight and everyone is on board with what action needs to be taken," Dogan said.

The House committee is expected to hold its next hearing at 8 a.m. Wednesday. At 10 a.m. Thursday, a Cole County circuit judge will hold the first hearing on Greitens' temporary restraining order seeking to ban Attorney General Josh Hawley from further investigating the governor.