Here’s some great news out of Missouri. Four Republican senators are leading a bipartisan effort to probe the growing ethics problems surrounding Gov. Eric Greitens’ use of hidden donors to promote his political agenda.
The GOP senators are Ryan Silvey of Kansas City, Doug Libla of Poplar Bluff, Bob Dixon of Springfield and Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph. The two Democrats joining them are Jason Holsman of Kansas City and Scott Sifton of Affton.
Here’s a link to Senate Resolution 4, introduced Monday during the second special session called by Greitens. (It’s a waste of time and taxpayer money, aimed at making it more difficult for women to get legal abortions in Missouri.)
The probe, if approved, could last until the end of 2018.
Holsman summed up things well with this quotation in talking about Greitens, who claimed last year he would be a Mr. Clean politician in Jefferson City but has turned out to be Mr. Dirty so far:
“Missouri voters deserve to know the role Gov. Greitens played in the illegal activity of his campaign, and how deep the corruption within the Governor’s organization continues to go. We must protect the integrity of Missouri’s highest office and I am pleased to join my Republican colleagues in calling for this investigation.”
As the resolution notes, the Missouri Ethics Commission in April already found Greitens and his election committee guilty of violating state campaign ethics laws in 2016.
Greitens also has refused to disclose the details of donations to his campaign and to his inauguration festivities.
Missourians don’t know enough about who’s trying to influence Greitens and how much they’re willing to spend to try to pull his strings.
The worst current travesty concerns how Greitens has cavalierly stood by as a group funded by dark money — A New Missouri — is trying to promote his agenda.
Donors aren’t disclosed to the public. The group is led by Greitens’ backers. Yet the governor has lamely claimed he can’t tell the organization what to do — while it has attacked members of the General Assembly regarding several different issues Greitens supports.
These hardball tactics have upset some Republican senators, including the ones calling for the special investigation into Greitens.
The use of A New Missouri especially betrays Greitens’ campaign promise to promote strong, clean ethical behavior in Jefferson City.
His hypocrisy on this issue gave the General Assembly a great excuse to refuse to pass much better laws in the 2017 session.
Kurt Erickson of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the investigation Tuesday afternoon, including this line: “Despite the bipartisan support, the legislation is unlikely to go anywhere during the current special session on abortion issues.”
Here’s hoping that prediction does not come true. The majority of GOP legislators should not be cowed by Greitens.
True, a special investigation by a co-equal branch of government could devolve into just great political theater.
Then again, given Greitens’ regrettable ethical behavior, this probe could provide the disinfectant the Missouri public deserves when it comes to cleaning up Jefferson City.