Missouri House creates committee to investigate felony charge against Gov. Greitens

The Missouri House has created a committee that will investigate the charge on which Governor Eric Greitens (R) has been indicted.

Representative Jay Barnes and House Speaker Todd Richardson (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Greitens was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury for felony invasion of privacy.  Greitens is accused of taking, without consent, a photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015.

House Speaker Todd Richardson (R-Poplar Bluff) and other Republican members of House Leadership said Thursday they would begin identifying the legislators that would investigate that charge.  On Monday Richardson announced the committee will be chaired by Jefferson City Republican Jay Barnes.

“This committee’s task is going to be to investigate facts.  We’re going to do so in a way that is fair, thorough, and timely, and we’re going to do it without any preordained results,” said Barnes.  “We are going to be asking questions of witnesses on both sides and hope to have a process with full involvement from everyone involved in this matter.”

Barnes, an attorney, has been tasked with heading other investigative committees including one into the state’s involvement in a fraudulent deal to bring to Moberly a sucralose producer under the name Mamtek.

He is joined on the committee by its vice chairman, Don Phillips (R-Kimberling City) and representatives Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs), Kevin Austin (R-Springfield), Shawn Rhoads (R-West Plains), Gina Mitten (D-St. Louis), and Tommie Pierson, Jr (D-St. Louis).

Representative Pierson, one of two Democrats on the committee, said it’s unfortunate that the panel is needed but the process should be as prudent as possible.

“I did accept to be on the committee because I feel that I will be fair and honest and open to hearing and allowing the process to run its course,” said Pierson.  “That’s what I hope to see happen.”

Meanwhile, said Richardson, the House will continue its other work.

“We are going to continue to move forward with the substantive legislation that we have spent the bulk of this session working on,” said Richardson.  “Yes, Representative Barnes and his committee are going to have a big task but that is not going to deter us or limit our ability to move forward on priorities that the people of Missouri sent us here to do.”

The committee will hold its first hearing later this week.