Missouri House Republican leaders have appointed State Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, as the chairman of a bipartisan House committee that will investigate the charge against Governor Eric Greitens (R).
Barnes, an attorney, tells the Capitol Press Corps the committee will question witnesses on both sides.
“This committee’s task is going to be to investigate facts,” Barnes says. “We’re going to do so in a way that is fair, thorough and timely.”
Barnes says the committee will focus “on the underlying facts of the indictment and the circumstances surrounding them.”
A St. Louis City grand jury has indicted Greitens on one felony count of invasion of privacy, and Greitens was arraigned on Thursday.
Greitens’ lawyer, former U.S. Attorney Ed Dowd, has filed a motion to dismiss.
Governor Greitens has blasted St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, a former Democratic state lawmaker. Greitens describes her as a “reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.”
Republicans will have five seats on the seven-member House investigative committee, including Chairman 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,” says Barnes.
State Rep. Don Phillips, R-Kimberling City, will serve as the committee’s vice chair. Phillips is a retired Missouri state trooper.
State Reps. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, Kevin Austin, R-Springfield, and Shawn Rhoads, R-West Plains, are the other three Republicans. Rhoads is a former West Plains Police detective.
Speaker Richardson says the committee’s two Democrats are House Assistant Minority Leader Gina Mitten and State Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr. Mitten and Pierson are both St. Louis Democrats.
Barnes also led the bipartisan 2011 House Mamtek investigation, which involved Moberly and former Mamtek chief executive officer Bruce Cole.
The committee will have subpoena power, and Barnes tells Capitol reporters the committee will produce a report.
If good cause is found, the committee could draft articles of impeachment to be reported to the House.
While Barnes does not have a timeframe for how long the investigation will take, he says they won’t be rushed.
Barnes, who was first elected in 2010, is in his eighth and final year in the House. He announced in October that he will not run for the Missouri Senate.
Speaker Richardson and Chairman Barnes spoke to the Capitol Press Corps for about three minutes late Monday afternoon at the Statehouse in Jefferson City.
They were joined at the podium by House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, and House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold.
The House Lounge was packed with reporters from across Missouri.