Eric Greitens has gotten one big thing right early on about being Missouri’s governor. He’s been out and about among the people — talking to law enforcement, cleaning up a damaged Jewish cemetery, visiting storm-damaged areas.
But Greitens also is getting one huge thing wrong: Being fully open and honest with the people of Missouri.
Some of his sneaky behavior is already well-chronicled, such as taking millions of dollars in campaign funds without revealing the sources and refusing to release his tax returns.
Two more recent events show how far Greitens is willing to go to hide who’s bankrolling his activities as governor.
One is who paid how much for helping put on his inauguration festivities.
The other is who’s paying for him to fly around the state and country.
Ignore the inane argument offered by Greitens’ staff that tapping others to pay for these activities relieves taxpayers of these “burdens.”
Do they think the people of Missouri are stupid? Taxpayers need to know who’s trying to buy influence with Greitens because that’s exactly what’s being done.
Using the Greitens’ team logic, the governor’s salary doesn’t have to be a “burden” on Missouri taxpayers either. Why not let corporations and special interests fund that salary?
The correct response, of course, is that Greitens is supposed to be working for all the people of Missouri, not just the select few who can afford to pump money into his inauguration, airplane flights and other special projects he’s going to come up with over the next few years.
Because Greitens works for all the people, he needs to tell them who paid for his inauguration and how much they funneled into the effort. That’s full disclosure, the kind that lets the public decide just how trustworthy Greitens is with the keys of power, especially if he later supports bills to help those donors.
And Greitens should either let the public pay for his airplane flights or always make complete and immediate disclosure of which corporations or special interests are paying. Again, setting aside the silly “taxpayers shouldn’t be burdened” argument, the people of Missouri deserve to know who’s trying to curry favor with Greitens.
The new governor once vowed he was going to break from politics as usual and clean up the ethical environment in Jefferson City.
Keeping his donor list and tax returns secret, then hiding contributors to his inauguration and airplane flights, are the kinds of unethical behavior that give politics a dirty name.
And that dirt is already rubbing off on Greitens.