JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A group of Missouri lawmakers met Friday for hours behind closed doors to discuss a personnel issue.
That closed-door meeting lasted for more than four hours in the basement of the Capitol. There’s no confirmation about who or what the group was talking about; other than it was regarding a personnel inquiry, but this all comes as other lawmakers are calling on House Speaker Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres to resign.
“That’s all I can say, I have no further comment,” chairman of the House Ethics Committee Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Moutain Grove said to reporters Friday afternoon.
The role of the House Ethics Committee is to investigate complaints regarding members of the lower chamber. This comes at a time when the top leader in the House is making headlines.
Calls for Plocher’s resignation come after he began paying back roughly $4,000 that he was reimbursed for regarding work-related travel that he paid out of his campaign fund. Most of those calls coming from other Republicans like Rep. Mazzie Boyd, R-Hamilton, Rep. Doug Richey, R-Excelsior Springs and Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester.
Koenig posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, Friday, “The recent revelations about Speaker Dean Plocher are troubling, to say the least. He violated the same campaign finance rule on nine difference occasions and misused taxpayer funds. He might resign immediately so that we can get back to the business of serving Missourians.
“We will work with honesty, fairness, accountability and unquestionable commitment to seek the truth for the good of the House, the people and our state,” Kelly said at the beginning of the meeting.
Kelly reminded the group before going into closed session that members are not to discuss the case publicly until a report is released.
“We are entrusted with a duty to evaluate, investigate and make decisions that have far-reaching consequences,” Kelly told the committee. “Here in this room, confidentiality is not just a rule, it is a pledge of trust and respect that we extend to everyone and anyone involved in the matters that come before this committee at any given point in time.”
But even members were unaware of why the meeting was called since there was no official complaint filed.
“Is this about policy?,” Rep. Rick Francis, R-Perryville, asked Kelly. “If it’s about policy then it should be an open session. If it’s about a particular member, then I understand your request.”
“Because of the confidentiality of the matter, it is very important to protect all parties involved and proceed in closed session,” Hannah responded.
Plocher, who is also running for lieutenant governor, fired his chief of staff earlier this month around the same time the House was discussing contracts and bids of a new software company. Plocher was pushing to hire a private company costing $800,000.
Plocher said he’s not resigning. He has one term left as speaker before he terms out.
The House Ethics Committee plans to meet again Nov. 8. Kelly said the group will continue discussing the personnel matter.