A chapter in Missouri state government history will come to a close at 5 p.m. today when Governor Eric Greitens resigns. His 17-month tenure came crashing down on Tuesday shortly after Cole County Circuit judge Jon Beetem ordered the Republican governor to release documents with redactions from his political action and campaign committees.
During Greitens’ resignation speech on Tuesday, his four-minute address had some key statements.
“Let us walk off the battlefield with our heads held high. We have a good and proud story to tell our children,” Greitens said.
State Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, disagrees with the governor’s comment.
“I don’t know what story he’s telling, but it doesn’t seem to be something good or something to be proud of. He shot into the governor’s office out of nowhere, was a flaming rocket. As quickly as he showed up, he went away. I don’t know what good story he has to tell,” Razer said.
Greitens’ wild year started off with allegations from a 2015 affair and transpired into much more. He’s accused of taking and transmitting a sexual photo of his mistress without her permission and threatening to blackmail her with the image. His alleged victim reported to officials that Greitens tied her to a piece of exercise equipment, blindfolded her and pulled her pants down in the basement of his St. Louis home. She also stated feeling sexually manipulated and said she experienced Greitens using physical aggression towards her.
Greitens is accused of taking a donor list from his former charity without proper permission and using that list to finance his campaign for governor. A report by a state House committee investigating the governor notes that in a subsequent filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission, Greitens and his campaign admitted that the campaign used the donor list for fundraising purposes. He signed a settlement agreement and paid a $100 fine.
Former Greitens campaign advisor Michael Hafner also indicates that Greitens was using shell companies to hide donors and received foreign donations, which would break federal campaign finance laws.
“I have not broken any laws or committed any offense worthy of this treatment,” Greitens said on Tuesday.
Razer finds the governor’s comment striking.
“Well one, it sounds like he’s admitting he’s broken some laws. I think with him leaving, we’ll never quite be able to have all the evidence we need to completely refute that statement. So, it just kind of sounds like a self-serving statement,” Razer said.
He goes on to say that the governor’s speech fell short.
“I think the thing that struck me in his speech the most is he took no responsibility for the anguish that he has caused the victim in the first report, witness one. There was no apology to her. She never asked for this. She has been victimized again,” said Razer. “There was no apology, and maybe he’s done this privately and that would be fine, but I heard no apology to his family for his role in this. There was no apology to the people of Missouri for his role in this. Everything was blaming someone else. As far as I heard, took no responsibility for himself. While disappointing, maybe not unexpected coming from Eric Greitens.”
Razer, who is widely respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, served on the Missouri House committee investigating the governor. He says there’s an important takeaway from this chapter for the people of Missouri.
“I was not on the committee for long, but I can tell you the time I was on there, there were no Democrats and Republicans. There were House members,” he said. “Throughout this process, I think the thing that has struck me the most is not the alleged bad deeds of one man, Eric Greitens. Instead, it was when pushed against the wall, our institutions work. When you get someone with as egregious of allegations against him who is in that high of an office, partisan labels get put to the side. Democrats, Republicans, urban, rural, men and women, black and white, everyone comes together to protect the state, protect the people of Missouri and to protect the institutions.”
At 5:30 p.m. today, the page will flip to Lt. Governor Mike Parson. The Republican will be sworn into office as Missouri’s 57th governor. You can watch the ceremony on Missourinet.com
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