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The Missouri Times

APRIL 17, 2018

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WAGNER, KEHOE TO GOVERNOR: RESIGN PAGE 8

REPORT SHOCKS STATE

HOUSE CONTINUES INVESTIGATION


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Missouri Times The

129 E. High Street, Suite D, Jefferson City, MO | 573-746-2912

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@MissouriTimes

Scott Faughn, Publisher | scott@themissouritimes.com | @ScottFaughn Rachael Herndon Dunn, Editor | rachael@themissouritimes.com | @RachaelHernDunn Benjamin Peters, Reporter | benjamin@themissouritimes.com | @BenjaminDPeters Alisha Shurr, Reporter | alisha@themissouritimes.com | @AlishaShurr Riley Herigon, Intern | riley@themissouritimes.com

COMMENTARY

Time to surrender in the war against medical cannabis for veterans By Joshua Lee with Rory E. Riley-Topping War. War never changes. Since the dawn of time, war has caused death, destruction, and hardships for those who are lucky enough to survive it. Unfortunately, war never changes, but fortunately, people do.  One need not look further than the recent headlines about former Speaker John Boehner’s statement that his “thinking on cannabis has evolved” to see how important such change can be, especially for our nation’s veterans. As a retired Sergeant in the Missouri National Guard, I am here to tell you a story of change.  In March of 2017, my wife and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary in Colorado, five years after I returned from Afghanistan a broken shell of a man. In those five years, we hadn’t been out on a date that hadn’t ended in disaster, I had been an emotionally abusive monster both to her and our two beautiful sons, I had crushed the spirits and dreams of those whom I should cherish and support the most. I was a rage-filled zombie, prescribed twenty-seven pills a day by the VA to control the symptoms of PTSD, fibromyalgia, and arthritis, barely able to function in the outside world, fully aware of the misery and despair I brought to everyone I loved. I was lost.  I had no hope. I was 33 years old, staring down the barrel of a pill bottle and contemplating ways to permanently stop hurting those around me, when my wife suggested we try combining Colorado and cannabis. At first, I, like many others was skeptical.  I grew up during a time when cannabis was associated with the hippies of the 60’s and 70’s.  When it was associated with being lazy, shiftless and unmotivated.  These associations were a far cry from what I aspired to be as a soldier, a veteran, husband, and father.  But, I was already an overmedicated version of those things and in a moment of desperation, I decided it was time to change.  Using medical cannabis saved my marriage, my relationship with our two sons, and my life. Canadian studies on veterans show a 63% reduction in anger and irritability, a 77% reduction in suicidal ideation, and a composite 59% reduction in symptoms associated with PTSD. As an American veteran, I can testify as to the truth of these numbers personally.  As a result, my wife and I founded Veteran’s Alliance for Compassionate Access, a Missouri 501(c)4 dedicated to social and political reform by empowering veterans to find their voice. Veterans and their voices have power to affect real change in our political atmosphere, and nowhere do we see that more clearly this week than in the sudden announcement by former Speaker of the House John Boehner that he was joining the board of advisors

for Acreage Holdings, a company that grows and sells cannabis legally in eleven states. From one of the most hawkish anti-cannabis crusaders on Capitol Hill to joining an advisory board for a cannabis corporation, Speaker Boehner has completed his transformation at a pivotal time for the cannabis industry and our nation as a whole. Today, veterans support cannabis legalization at rates over 85% nationally; when faced with a lifetime of pills, pain, and PTSD as an alternative, is it any wonder we fight so passionately for change? Speaker Boehner credits veterans as being part of the reason he changed his stance on cannabis after seeing its medical efficacy first hand.  Speaker Boehner should be applauded for this statement because it takes true courage to admit you’ve been championing the wrong stance for literal decades. Although Boehner’s change of heart is important, it would be more so if he could persuade his colleagues who are still on Capitol Hill to do the same.  Currently, the VA continues to misstate federal law by telling veterans that it cannot prescribe medical cannabis.  To the contrary, in 2003, the Supreme Court held that it was within a physician’s First Amendment right to recommend obtaining medical cannabis as a treatment option in states where it is legal, as long as the doctor did not provide it directly.  Thus, the only thing standing in VA’s way is its own internal policies. Like the VA, Congress has struggled with the appropriate role of medical cannabis due to the outdated stereotypes referenced above.  Although both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.), respectively, along with several colleagues submitted a letter and made statements to the VA earlier this year requesting that it study medical cannabis, to date, no action is pending before the Committee to advance legislation forcing the VA’s hand on the issue. At Veterans Alliance for Compassionate Access, we encourage lawmakers and elected officials at all levels of government to join Speaker Boehner in calling for cannabis reform; states with strong, easy-to-access medical cannabis programs see significant savings in Medicare and Medicare Part D prescriptions, alcohol binge drinking decreases by 13%, opiate overdoses decrease 25%, and veteran suicides are even reduced.  War never changes, but we can. 

Joshua Lee is a retired Army Sergeant, and the founder of Veterans Alliance for Compassionate Access, a 501(c)(4) in Missouri. Rory E. Riley-Topping is a veterans advocate and former Staff Director and Counsel for the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in Washington, DC.


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The Missouri Times

TWEETS OF THE WEEK

Highlights in 280 characters or less. Celeste Bott @celestebott A detail I forgot: Eric Greitens majored in ethics at Duke Scott Rupp @Scott_Rupp If Gov. Greitens does resign does that mean all other elected officials go back to wearing suits and ties instead of jeans and blue blazers? #moleg Thomas Hatfield @THatfieldMO I’m not sure Greitens knows how witch hunts work #moleg Ryan Silvey @RyanSilvey Sen @robschaaf is correct. Spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to have a special session on impeachment is misguided. If they’re going to impeach, they should do it in regular session. #MOLeg

HOT LIST

HOUSE INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE

Rep. Jay Barnes led the committee to produce a report that was more respectful than some people expected while still maintaining a professional as possible presentation with House leadership by their side.

Rob Schaaf @robschaaf #moleg

DON PHILLIPS

When the committtee was predictably attacked, the committee’s vice chairman was the one to stand up and reject.

REPUBLICANS

It’s hard to say these investigations are a witch hunt when the supermajority is behind the investigation and driving the investigation forward. Additionally, it’s hard

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

and impressive to call for the resignation of the governor of your own party.

HOLLY REHDER

She appeared on Megan Kelly Today talking child brides showing her ability to advocate for causes important to her that also make a real difference while showing she’s a team player by plugging bill sponsor Rep. Evans on national television.


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SUNDAY MORNINGS KANSAS CITY - 38 THE SPOT AT 10:00 A.M. ST. LOUIS - ABC 30 KDNL AT 11:00 A.M. SPRINGFIELD - MCN 22 AT 11:00 A.M. MID-MISSOURI - MCN 22 AT 11:00 A.M.

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The Missouri Times

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Committee extends investigation, Legislature will seek special session by Benjamin Peters

benjamin@themissouritimes.com

The work of the Missouri House committee tasked with investigating Gov. Eric Greitens is far from finished, it seems. In a press conference held Wednesday evening, just an hour after releasing the committee report, House Speaker Todd Richardson said that the committee would expand its investigation before making any recommendations about whether to pursue the impeachment of the embattled Republican governor. “To that end, the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight voted to continue its work to gather additional information that comes to light and also to expand their mission to provide members a recommendation of any and all appropriate disciplinary action of the governor,” Richardson said. Just hours before the House press conference, Gov. Greitens made a statement, saying

that the report to be issued was “full of lies.” Richardson disagreed with that sentiment. “This is not a witch hunt, and the committee had no political agenda,” he said. “The committee’s task, and its only task, was to conduct the most thorough and timely investigation possible.” He noted that they gave Greitens the opportunity to testify, and that offer still stands. Richardson told reporters that the power and duty given to the legislature in these events is one of the most serious constitutional powers given to the General Assembly, and must be used responsibly. “We will not take that responsibility lightly,” he said. “We will not act rashly, but we will not shrink from it.” He said that the committee had told him that they would not be able to finish all of their work before the end of the legislative session, and as such, leadership will begin the process of calling a legislative special session, which

could lead to impeachment proceedings. To call a special session, the legislature would need a vote of three fourths of each chamber to call themselves back in. From there, if the intent is to impeach Greitens, articles of impeachment would need to be introduced and voted out of the House committee before heading to the House floor, where it would need 82 votes in the House to move to the Senate. From there, the Senate would be required to select a panel of seven judges to try the case, and if five of the judges agree, then Greitens would be removed. Following the release of the report, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said that the House was “within its rights” to proceed with impeachment. “The House Investigative Committee’s Report contains shocking, substantial, and corroborated evidence of wrongdoing by Governor Greitens,” Hawley said in a statement. “The

conduct the Report details is certainly impeachable, in my judgment, and the House is well within its rights to proceed on that front. But the people of Missouri should not be put through that ordeal. Governor Greitens should resign immediately.” And with the committee extending its investigation, it could mean that more is still coming in terms of other allegations of misconduct by the embattled Republican governor. But as for what else the House committee might be looking into, whether it deals with the Governor’s use of the Confide app or the illegal obtaining and usage of The Mission Continues donor list, Richardson offered no insight. “The report released today represents the committee’s best effort to get a fair accounting of the testimony involved in that circumstance,” he said. “Beyond that, I’m not going to comment on anything that the committee is looking into beyond that.”


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6 THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Senate committee approves Justice appointment, now headed to the floor by Benjamin Peters

benjamin@themissouritimes.com

When former State Board of Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven was fired from her position through the use of a majority vote consisting of appointments to the board by Gov. Eric Greitens, the room was packed, with people lining the hallway outside. But in Wednesday’s meeting of the Senate Committee on Gubernatorial Appointments, the first in which one of those appointments was being heard, less than half the seats were filled. The issue of the State Board of Education has been one of controversy for months, spanning to July of 2017 when the now-embattled governor appointed 10 different individuals to the board. Two declined the appointment, while one resigned, saying he had been pressured to fire Vandeven. Two more were removed after saying they had also been pushed to remove the commissioner. Fast forward to December and the board voted 5-3 to fire Vandeven, with the five deciding votes being those of Gov. Greitens’ appointees. Since then, those five – Jennifer Edwards, Eddy Justice, Doug Russell, Marvin Jungmeyer and Eric Teeman – have been awaiting confirmation by the Senate. Greitens withdrew and reappointed the five in January in order to give more time for the Senate to evaluate them, but

the move also put the board into limbo because individuals appointed during the session are not eligible to vote until they are confirmed. Without those five, the board lacks a quorum and cannot meet. Justice, an insurance agent and Republican Party fundraiser from Poplar Bluff, appeared before the Senate committee on Wednesday, where he was questioned by several senators on several matters, from his position on charter schools and vouchers to his vote to oust Vandeven. The chairman of the committee, Senate

President Pro Tem Ron Richard, led the questioning of Justice, who sat next to the senator sponsoring him, Sen. Doug Libla. When asked by Richard if getting rid of Vandeven had been a requirement for his appointment, Justice replied that no conditions had been placed on him and that he had made his decision to fire Vandeven after meeting with her and assessing the culture of the department. “I came to the independent conclusion that I believed there needed to be a culture change in the department, and the best place to start that change was at the top.”

He said that the “longer we waited to implement a culture change,” the more children would be left behind. Speaking of his own opinions of educational issues, Justice told the committee that he does not support “a one-size-fits-all approach,” but believes in local control. “The last thing I want to do is insert the state into those situations where it can be handled more efficiently at the local level.” As for charter schools, he said he did not believe that the use of charter schools should be expanded, instead saying that they were tools that can be used, and that he felt the department has not held charter schools to “an appropriate level of accountability.” Justice also told the commission about how he’s been trying to shield his family from the negative side of this whole process, saying that his business has been threatened and that he had purchased security measures for his yard. The next step will be a vote by the Senate chamber on the appointment, which Richard said would happen next week. However, several senators have spoken against the appointment of these five individuals, citing their actions as cause to be considered unfit. Sen. Gary Romine has been outspoken about the appointments, stating that he would filibuster the appointees on the floor if he must. Speaking with the Missouri Times on Wednesday afternoon, Romine reaffirmed his position on a possible filibuster.

House looks to form Bicentennial Commission by Alisha Shurr

alisha@themissouritimes.com

With the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s statehood just three years away, the Missouri House is looking at forming a commission to advise and assist the State Historical Society of Missouri and the Bicentennial Alliance in the lead up to the day. “The 200th anniversary of our state is going to be a big deal,” said Rep. Travis Fitzwater. HCR 105, put forth by Fitzwater, would create the Missouri Bicentennial Commission to help with planning activities and events for the August 10, 2021 celebration. “It’s pretty significant, going over the histo-

ry and tourism will kind of be apart of this,” Rep. Jeffery Justus said. “[This] could be a boost in a lot of communities…I think there is a chance it could bring a lot of people into our state who might not have normally come.” Before the hearing started, Justus, who chairs of the Special Committee on Tourism, reminded those in attendance that in FY 2017 Missouri had 42 million tourists, bringing in $16.8 billion and that tourism in employees 313,000 people in the state. For every dollar spent on tourism, Missouri brings in $3. Two years ago, the General Assembly directed the State Historical Society of Missouri to develop plans, ideas, and proposals to

commemorate and celebrate the bicentennial. Numerous statewide, non-profit organizations and government agencies have formed the Bicentennial Alliance to create and promote statewide projects commemorating the bicentennial. The commission — composed of a multitude of members from the Senate, the House, and the executive branch — will assist the historical society and the Bicentennial Alliance in the next stages of the celebration. “We have had meetings around the state, trying to plan the bicentennial,” testified Doug Crews, past president of the historical society. “You will see a state bicentennial license plate, I believe this year or maybe next year. That was

part of the historical societies efforts. We are all in favor of this resolution.” The Missouri Humanities Council is very much in support of forming the commission, they testified. No one testified against the resolution but Rep. Steve Cookson wanted to make sure that the commission will do something. He recalled a committee formed a couple years back that the General Assembly has never heard anything more about. “That’s my only concern,” said Cookson. “That we establish a commission but there is no follow-up with it.” Those testifying said they would have no problem reporting back to the body.


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The Missouri Times

GREITENS INVESTIGATION

Graphic House report details instances of spanking, slapping, derogatory names

Greitens decries House report, calls it ‘full of lies’ by Benjamin Peters

benjamin@themissouritimes.com

Less than an hour before the release of a report compiled by a House special investigative committee, Gov. Eric Greitens is defiantly responding to the report’s findings, calling them falsehoods and lies. The report, which focuses on allegations stemming from his extramarital affair with his former hairdresser, was released Wednesday at 5 p.m. Speaking before members of the media after 4 p.m., Greitens told them that the report will be “full of lies” and called it a “political witch hunt.” “They don’t scare us, we are not scared by their lies and we are not afraid of their falsehoods,” he said. He said that he fully expects more “false accusations” to rise, but insisted that a jury of his peers will, in “33 days” prove him innocent of the allegations. “In 33 days, this will all come to a close because, in the United States of America, you get your day in court,” he said. “In this country, we don’t judge people before justice is done.” He referenced the recent claims by the defense, who filed a motion earlier this week, calling out the validity of the woman’s story. Greitens questioned the validity in much the same way, saying that the allegations were based on “scenes will be filled with lies that we now know may have come from a dream.” After making his statement, Greitens left the office without taking any questions from the press.

Includes instances of nonconsensual sexual actives by Alisha Shurr

alisha@themissouritimes.com

The woman at the heart of the sex scandal with Missouri’s governor did not consent nor verbally object to being tied up, blindfolded, and partially undress, according to the House investigative report released Wednesday night. The report also details that the woman, referred to as Witness 1, testified Eric Greitens slapped her and called her a whore during a different encounter. Also detailed are instances of slapping, shoving, and grabbing. On more than one occasion the woman was reduced to tears. The House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight was formed by Speaker Todd Richardson on February 27, 2018, following the grand jury indictment of Greitens on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge in St. Louis. The committee was on a fact-finding mission regarding Greitens’ affair with his St. Louis-based hairdresser and a tape made available to KMOV regarding an incident where he allegedly takes a picture of her without her consent and uses it to ensure her silence. He has denied the blackmail, has not confirmed or denied a picture, and called the investigation a “witch hunt” into a consensual relationship. Just an hour before the report was released Greitens pushback against the findings calling them “lies.” The report, which focuses on the unnamed woman’s recounting of events, pulls into question just how consensual the relationship was and other claims that have been made in re-

cent weeks. Greitens declined to testify and did not respond to any of the committee’s request for documents and sworn answers to written interrogatories. Page 3 of the reports states, “The Committee finds Witness 1 to be an overall credible witness.” Other witnesses include the woman’s ex-husband, referred to as Witness 3, two confidants of the woman, Witness 2 and Witness 4. The report details Witness 1 interactions with Greitens and how their relationship progressed from her perspective and what she confided in to Witness 2, who she’s been friends with for a decade, and Witness 4, who she’ been friends with for 30 years. The first time Witness 1 was at Greitens’ St. Louis home, he tied her up with “this gauzed tape stuff ” and then put a blindfold on her. According to the report, “…at which point I realize he’s trying to kiss me, but I don’t even want to kiss him.” “Witness 1 testified that she did not consent to Greitens’ tearing of the shirt, exposing her,” the report states. She also testified that she felt like her “privacy was invaded” after he took a picture of her in that position. After she was untied, Witness 1 started crying and Greitens moved to comfort her. He grabbed her pulled her to the ground and told her it “Shh, shh, it’s okay, calm down, calm down. “Witness 1 further testified that Greitens pulled his pants down and ‘pulled his penis out…max, six inches or something’ from her face while she was still crying and felt that she had no other choice if she were going to get out of the basement,” the report details.

Later that evening, when Witness 1 went back for her keys, she recounts, telling him “I’m so angry. That is not at all what I wanted to do, Eric.” After bringing up the picture he took of her, Witness 1 testified he said,”I know…but you have to understand, I’m running for office, and people will get me, and I have to have some sort of thing to protect myself. And I thought about you, though, and I felt bad, so I erased it.” At an encounter in June 2015, Witness 1 went to Greitens’ house late at night, while semi-nude after making out he asked her “have you been intimate with anybody?” After affirming she had been with her husband, “he slapped [her] across [her] face.” Witness 2 testified to that Witness 1 had told her of the incident. Witness 2 said she was told, “he had slapped her in the face and called her a whore.” In a different encounter, after exercising together in what Witness 1 thought was a “sexy workout”, she said she was on her hands and knees in front of Greitens and “out of nowhere, just, like, kind of smacked me and grabbed me and shoved me down on the ground. “And I instantly just started bawling and was just like, What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you? And I just laid there crying while he was just like…you’re fine, you’re fine. You know, not really – I think he was just – I don’t know. Maybe that’s normal, but, to me, it’s not. So, after that, I got ready and left and went to work.” The woman testified that it hurt and might have left a mark.


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8 GREITENS INVESTIGATION

Greitens faces calls to resign

Following the release of the House investigative report lawmakers, former-state politicians, Republican donors, and more have released statements questioning Gov. Eric Greitens’ role moving forward. Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe “I am grateful to the members of the committee. Each of them are men and women of high-character and great integrity, and I believe the report reflects that.  The investigation is not a “witch-hunt”, nor are the contents of the report “tabloid trash”.  The governor will have his day in court to determine his guilt or innocence on the charge he was indicted for. “However, the contents of this report are disturbing and disgusting, particularly as the father of three daughters.  The governor has lost the moral authority and the ability to lead the state going forward.  The governor should resign immediately for the good of the state, but more importantly, for the good of his family.  Unlike any political office, his family will be with him for the rest of his life. “Should the governor choose not to resign, I am persuaded that he has not only burned bridges, he has blown them up to where it will be impossible for him to effectively lead the state going forward.  Remaining in office reeks of the self-serving actions of a “career politician” the governor has mockingly derided since his inauguration. “I take no pleasure in calling for the governor’s resignation. But I do know our founding fathers devised a system of government which is greater than one person and able to handle this scenario.  Thanks to the leadership of Speaker Todd Richardson and Senator Ron Richard, the ship of state government sails steadily on course.” Peter Kinder “As he campaigned for Governor, Eric Greitens decried corruption in our state Capitol and pledged to be the cleansing agent against that corruption, all the while upholding honor, dignity and clean government,” Kinder said. “This included a debate lecture to me about a time, decades earlier, when I’d failed to live up to that standard. When he won the primary and general elections, and then as he took office, we Republicans hoped for the best. “Those hopes have been dashed into bitter disappointment. Because of his actions, and for no other reason, his capacity for the leadership our state needs has drained away. “Make no mistake: All the hard-won gains we conservatives have achieved in Missouri since Ronald Reagan’s first election in 1980 are now at risk. Progress on fiscal responsibility; the right to life of the innocent unborn; vitally needed tax and education reforms; property rights — all these, and so many others, now hang in the balance. A Governor of our party should be leading the successful effort to defend our new right to work law at the polls in a

few months. Who among us now believes that the Governor can provide that leadership? “Accordingly, and with great sadness, I ask that Gov. Greitens resign his office or, failing that, I call on my friends in the House of Representatives to commence impeachment as provided in the Constitution.” David Humphreys “I am deeply disappointed by the actions described in the testimony released by the House Committee,. While these actions took place before his election and are otherwise arguably a private matter, the testimony reveals behavior that should not be tolerated anywhere but especially not by those holding public office. Governor Greitens should resign as these new revelations describes behavior that makes it impossible to retain confidence in his ability to govern wisely and well.” U.S. Representative Ann Wagner “This is a sad chapter in our history that should never have come to pass. Two months ago, after the disturbing allegations against the Governor came to light, I called for an immediate and transparent investigation,” she stated. “The transcripts paint the picture of a vulnerable woman and a man who preyed on that vulnerability. I am disgusted, disheartened, and I believe Governor Greitens is unfit to lead our state.” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill “I have read the official report from the Republican-led Missouri House investigation, including the sworn testimony. It is clearly time to put the interests of the people of Missouri first. The Governor should resign,” she said. State Auditor Nicole Galloway Eric Greitens needs to summon the integrity to resign. The Governor’s indefensible actions and the embarrassment he continues to bring to Missouri are causing deep harm to our state. Attorney General Josh Hawley “The House Investigative Committee’s Report contains shocking, substantial, and corroborated evidence of wrongdoing by Governor Greitens. The conduct the Report details is certainly impeachable, in my judgment, and the House is well within its rights to proceed on that front. But the people of Missouri should not be put through that ordeal. Governor Greitens should resign immediately.” Senate Democratic Leader Gina Walsh “Based on the shocking and unsettling events detailed in this report, we have no faith in Eric Greitens’ ability to effectively govern. He must resign immediately. If he refuses to do the right thing, the Missouri House of Representatives should move forward with the impeachment process.” Sen. Bob Dixon “As a husband and father of three daughters, I find the content of the report and the governor’s characterization of it beyond shameful

and worthy of resignation and removal from office.” Sen. Caleb Rowden “After a criminal indictment followed shocking allegations of misconduct, I called on Eric Greitens to resign as Governor because I believed he no longer had the moral authority to lead and could no longer effectively perform the duties of his office. Based on the facts presented today by the House special investigative committee, I reiterate my call for the Governor to resign immediately. His troubling conduct is an insult not only to my moral values, but also to the values of millions of Missourians. Should the Governor fail to resign immediately, for the good of our state and our principles, I believe the Missouri House should move swiftly toward impeachment.” Rep. Kevin Corlew “I said in January that the actions attributable to Eric Greitens were deeply troubling and that he needed to be held accountable. In the wake of the indictment from the grand jury, I called for Greitens to resign as governor because I couldn’t see how he could effectively perform the duties of his office, let alone to lead with the kind of moral authority needed to make a positive impact on our State. “With the knowledge of the credible facts that have been learned and produced by the House investigative committee in their first report, I am even more troubled and disgusted at his alleged conduct. It is no way in keeping with my moral values, with the values of the vast majority of Missourians, or with the morals and behavior that should be expected of the governor of Missouri. “For the good of our state and the ideals we stand for, I renew my call for Eric Greitens immediately to resign as governor. I also call upon my legislative colleagues to seriously consider impeachment under the Missouri State Constitution.” Former Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden “This is a tough day for all Missourians regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum. It’s a well-known fact that I believe the Grand Jury indictment is a farce as is the current criminal complaint. And, if that was all we had before us, I would and have said, ‘stand strong Governor’. Unfortunately, it’s not. The transcript of the House Committee report paints a seriously disturbing picture of a cold, calculating man preying on a woman. Sexual abuse in any form is reprehensible behavior and the Governor must consider that he has lost the moral authority to lead our state. If he wants to attempt to salvage what’s left of his honor, he should consider resigning the Office of Governor effective immediately. I understand why the Governor chose not to testify before the committee. He and his coun-

sel believed that was the right decision given the judicial proceedings that are taking place. Sadly, that left the House Special Investigative Report with having information that paints a picture of an individual who has some very serious issues. It contains charges made by witnesses that go unanswered but should and will be in a court of law. However, attacking the work of the committee as a ‘witch-hunt’ was an emotional, unsupported allegation. The Governor should and must put the best interests of his family and the citizens of the state of Missouri before his pride. He should fight vigorously against false charges. But, he also must face cold hard facts — his current situation does not serve his family, his state, or himself in a manner that leaves him with the capacity to properly lead the state. If he is guilty of the behavior outlined in the report, there is no excuse nor reason that he should continue as Governor. At the very least, the Governor should temporarily step aside until the completion of the court case in which he says will prove much of what is being alleged is false. If that is indeed the outcome, he then could resume his position as Governor. If he were to take this action, he demonstrates that his family and his state are more important than his pride.” Rep. Jean Evans “Violence against women is always wrong. Dishonesty and betrayal are always wrong. I am deeply disturbed by the revelations today and urge Gov Eric Greitens to do what is in the best interest of the people of Missouri and resign.” Rep. Shamed Dogan “…I think the Governor needs to resign. I was appalled by his attacks on the integrity of the committee, which on a bipartisan basis found the allegations to be credible and the witness to be credible. My heart breaks for the victim and…families” Rep. Lauren Arthur “The governor’s serious sexual misconduct and efforts to attack the victim have brought shame on Missouri. As I did on day one, back in January, I’m calling for the governor to resign. If he doesn’t resign, the House should impeach him.” House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty “The damning allegations detailed in the House investigative report expose Eric Greitens as wholly unfit to hold any position of public trust, let alone Missouri’s highest elected office. With his disgusting attempt to claim the mantle of victimhood for himself while verbally assaulting his actual victim, the welfare of the state demands that the House move to impeach him without delay. “During the five weeks remaining in the legislative session, the House must dedicate itself


The Missouri Times

On social media, Greitens claim video contradicts allegations Embattled Missouri Governor Eric Greitens took to Twitter on Thursday accusing St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner from withholding evidence and allowing her lead investigator to lie about it under oath. The governor’s statement comes after a tense hearing on Thursday morning in which his defense team accused Gardner and her team of withholding evidence and “gross misconduct and incompetence.” The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office said they conducted a two hour videotaped interview with the Missouri governor’s former mistress last month. Greitens’ lawyers said they were told the interview, conducted by Don Tisaby, a former FBI agent hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office to help with the investigation, was lost because the video recorder “malfunctioned.” Greitens tweeted on Thursday that “the prosecutor turned over a videotape of her interview with the woman. This was evidence that the prosecutor was legally required to turn over months ago. She purposefully kept it hidden until one hour after the false report was released.” The governor also states that investigative report that was released on Wednesday did not contain the evidence that Gardner handed over on Thursday, and the allegations in that report will be refuted by facts, including the video, depositions, discovery, and other evidence that will be subjected to courtroom analysis.

RESIGN | CONTINUED

and its resources to pursuing the impeachment process to its conclusion. Aside from passing the state budget – the General Assembly’s only constitutionally required duty – all other matters can wait. While it has been suggested impeachment can be delayed until a special session this summer, if restoring integrity to the governor’s office is important – and most Missourians believe it is – then this should be the top priority. “Contrary to some assertions, the House investigative committee has never discussed the possibility of delaying its work to a special session. The Democratic committee members were never consulted about doing so and see no need to even consider it at this time. If, after a good-faith effort to complete this important task, the end of session approaches and more time is needed, only then will House Democrats consider supporting a special session.

9 GREITENS INVESTIGATION

Lt. Gov. Parson calls for unity Following the public release of the Missouri House investigative report looking into the allegations against Gov. Eric Greitens, Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, called for unity and focus for the state, but did not delve into whether he thought the Governor should resign or if the legislature should act to remove him. “With the recent events that have distracted our great state, I want to say with all sincerity that it is time to unite and put aside our differences,” Parson said. “Over the course of several months, it has been a trying time for many people. My heart goes out to the families involved. However, all Missourians must continue to stay focused on the task at hand – moving Missouri forward. We owe it to ourselves and generations to come.” Other lawmakers have also spoken out without calling for resignation and a few have confirmed their belif in the accruacy of the report following attacks of its validy by Greitens. Investigative committee members Assistant House Minority Leader Gina Mitten and State Rep. Tommie Pierson Jr. “With today’s report, one component of the House investigation into the governor’s alleged wrongdoing comes to a close. But due to the time and resource constraints, including conducting this work while also keeping up with our regular day-to-day duties as lawmakers, it is necessary for the committee to extend its investigation in order to finish examining issues beyond those included in the report. “Our committee remains dedicated to its task and will not be deterred by Eric Greitens’ baseless attacks on our witnesses, our integrity or our common sense. And as we move forward, we remain sympathetic to the victim and the governor’s family for what they are

“The sworn testimony of Eric Greitens’ victim is credible; the denials of Eric Greitens are not. If he will not act honorably and resign, then the House must initiate impeachment proceedings. That process must begin now, not weeks or months from now.” Sen. Denny Hoskins “First of all, I feel sorry for the lady involved, her family and the first lady. None of them deserved or wanted any of this. That being said, I wholeheartedly support the efforts of House leadership as well as the report issued by the House Special Investigative Committee and its policies and procedures used during its investigative process. I previously served alongside many members of House leadership as speaker pro tem, and I know each of them to be individuals of the highest integrity. I also have the utmost respect for each member of the committee, and I support their continued investigation. This is a serious matter, and it is anything but a political

being forced to endure as a result of the governor’s actions and choices. “There are victims of physical and sexual assault who will have great difficulty processing the contents of this report, and they should know we support them.” State Rep. Don Phillips, who serves as vice-chair of the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight, released the following statement regarding the committee’s report: “When our colleagues in the House voted on March 1st for the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight to investigate certain actions of Governor Greitens, their unanimous vote was a clear sign House members required nothing less than the highest level of integrity from the committee. The members placed their trust in the committee, with the expectation that we would follow the facts and provide a full accounting of what those facts were. It was a responsibility that each member of the committee took extremely seriously. “The report released Wednesday reflects the thorough examination each committee member took in determining the validity of the facts of Governor Greitens’ conduct. The transcripts show that members did not just accept testimony as fact, but cross-examined witnesses, at times repeatedly and persistently, to ensure that what was reported to the House was indeed deemed accurate. Each member of the committee drew on their own professional experiences to question and determine each witness’s credibility. For me, I relied upon the lessons I learned in my 28 years as a Missouri state trooper in my inquiries and in my consideration of the truth. “The trust of my constituents and of my colleagues is the most important value need-

witch hunt. While I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the disgusting content included in the report, at the end of the day, I want to be able to look my 11-year-old daughter in the eyes when she asks about the governor, tell her I love her and tell her this type of behavior is not okay for someone to do to her or anyone else. I will tell her not to let anyone bully her or touch her without her consent. I will reaffirm to her that she is a strong, smart young lady and she deserves better treatment than what was described in the report. Whomever she dates or marries one day, they should treat her with dignity and respect. She and all women deserve to be treated with nothing less. With that being said, I now believe the House has sufficient information to pursue Articles of Impeachment. Missourians deserve a leader with strong moral character. The acts described in the report are appalling and bring up more questions about his ability to lead. I’m

ed to serve as a Representative. Everything I do is with honor and integrity to protect the trust that has been placed in me. In signing my name to the report, I did so with confidence that the committee diligently sought the truth, invested great consideration of the testimony we heard, and that the report was factual and credible.” State Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, Thursday issued the following statement relating to the report released by the Missouri House of Representative’s Special Investigative Committee. “I commend House leadership and the House committee members for their diligent and conscientious work on this serious matter. The House investigation has brought forth disturbing allegations that merit careful consideration, and the committee’s investigation is ongoing. I do not consider the committee report to be a “witch hunt” or “tabloid trash.” The House has Constitutional duties to which it is bound. The committee included some of the most respected legislators, from both sides of the aisle, and it appears they performed their duties to the best of their ability. I would note that this situation is without precedent in the state of Missouri, and the governor must seriously consider whether it is in the best interest of the state and of his family to continue this ordeal. The House will, appropriately, continue its work, and we in the Senate will carefully study all the findings of the committee and stand ready to discharge our Constitutional duties as the occasion should dictate.” U.S. Senator Roy Blunt also through his two cents into the forray. “Both the legislative and legal processes that are underway are appropriate and should continue moving forward.”

asking the House to evaluate all of the information they have received and pursue Articles of Impeachment.” Sen. Jill Schupp Shocked by the Governor, saddened for our state, and heartbroken for the families involved. It is time for Eric Greitens to resign. Rep. Peter Merideth “I’ve read enough. Resign now or be impeached.” Rep. Stacey Newmann “It is graphically clear. MO Governor Greitens must resign or be impeached.” Rep. Martha Stevens “I believe her. I have said it before and I will say it again: Gov. Greitens needs to resign.” Several other state Senators and state Representatives have made statements calling for Greitens to either step aside or for impeachment proceedings to start. These statements can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and other online platforms.


www.themissouritimes.com

10 IN THE COURTS

Greitens legal team accuses Circuit Attorney of withholding evidence, ‘gross misconduct’ by Ben Striker

ben@themissouritimes.com

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — In the first hearing since the Missouri House released a scathing report against Governor Eric Greitens, his defense team on Thursday accused St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner of withholding evidence and “gross misconduct and incompetence.” The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office said they conducted a two hour videotaped interview with the Missouri governor’s former mistress last month. Greitens’ lawyers said they were told the interview, conducted by  Don Tisaby, a former FBI agent hired by St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office to help with the investigation, was lost because the video recorder “malfunctioned.” Arguing for Greitens, defense attorney Jim Martin said the supposedly broken videotape of the alleged victim’s deposition “magically appeared” at 6 p.m. Wednesday, just one hour after the Missouri Special Investigative Committee on Oversight released a scathing report on the governor. “When we got it, it was too late to stop the House’s inaccurate statements,” Martin said. The defense accused Gardner of withholding evidence. The defense also asked to depose K.S., the woman at the center of the case, and her ex-husband again, and for Circuit Judge Rex Burlison to reconsider their motion to dismiss the felony indictment against Greit-

ens again, in light of the “gross misconduct” brought on by Gardner and the prosecution. “This evidence was hidden from us,” Martin said. “The prosecution said they didn’t exist. That is a lie under oath. That is perjury.” Burlison, who denied a motion to dismiss the case on March 26, told the defense to file motions requesting depositions of both the woman and her ex-husband, and to file another motion to dismiss. In addition to the videotape being presented to the defense, Martin argued that Tisaby lied under oath when he said he did not take notes during the interview with the former mistress of Greitens. The defense showed a picture of the investigator in court, sitting next to Gardner, taking notes. The defense team alleged she did not disclose that information to them. “I’ve never in my practice accused the prosecution of incompetence and misconduct,” defense lawyer Scott Rosenblum said. “I am doing that this morning.” On top of that, Martin claimed the tape shows major flaws in K.S.’s testimony and that it tells “an entirely different story about K.S.’s interaction with the governor and it undercuts her credibility.” “We believe that victims need to be protected but this woman is not a victim,” Martin said. Gardner claimed she did not know the recording was working until Monday when a person in the I.T. department got the video to work. She also claimed the recording, which

took place last month in a hotel with the woman, her lawyer Scott Simpson, Gardner and Tisaby, “would come on and go off.” But First Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele stated that the malfunction of the recorder had to do with 15 to 20 minutes of the recording having no audio. Steele also argued the defense’s claim that the woman is losing credibility, saying, “She has told the same account every time.” When asked why the tape wasn’t turned over to the defense earlier, Gardner said she needed time to review it herself first. “I never saw the tape until this week because we were under the impression that it wasn’t recording,” Gardner told the judge. About an hour into the hearing, Burlison called for a recess to discuss the “severe allegations” against Gardner and her team with both the prosecution and defense in his chambers. After about a 15-20 minute break, the hearing resumed, but Burlison did not allow the prosecution to defend the perjury allegations in the courtroom. Many lawmakers are calling for the governor to resign following the report that was released, which details the alleged conduct by Greitens with the woman who  testified under oath that Greitens subjected her to non-consensual sexual activity and violence. The report detailed the victim’s testimony that Greitens slapped her and called her a whore during one particular encounter. The report also detailed instances of slapping, shov-

ing, and grabbing. On more than one occasion the woman was reduced to tears. The committee was on a fact-finding mission regarding Greitens’ affair with his St. Louis-based hairdresser and a tape made available to KMOV regarding an incident where he allegedly takes a picture of her without her consent and uses it to ensure her silence. He has denied the blackmail, has not confirmed or denied a picture, and called the investigation a “witch hunt” into a consensual relationship. Just an hour before the report was released Greitens pushback against the findings calling them “lies.” The report, which focuses on the unnamed woman’s recounting of events, pulls into question just how consensual the relationship was and other claims that have been made in recent weeks. Greitens declined to testify and did not respond to any of the committee’s request for documents and sworn answers to written interrogatories. The House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight was formed by Speaker Todd Richardson on February 27, 2018, following the grand jury indictment of Greitens on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge in St. Louis. Burlison, who issued a gag order in the case Tuesday permitting all parties involved in the case from commenting on it outside the courtroom, said he would allow Greitens to respond to the report, saying, “he has the right to proclaim his innocence.”


11

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IN THE COURTS

Judge issues After nine hours of deposition, defense attempts to discredit photo tentative Filing from the defense contends ex-mistress may have seen cell phone “in a dream” by Alisha Shurr

alisha@themissouritimes.com

Attorneys defending Missouri’s Governor are attempting to raise doubts against the felony invasion-of-privacy Grand Jury indictment with allegations the woman involved in the affair may have seen a cell phone “in a dream.” Over the course of a nine hour deoposition Greitens’ legal team is latching on to one line in the testimony of the woman he had an extramartial affair with. Greitens is accused of taking a nonconsensual photograph of the woman with whom he had an affair with while she was bound, blindfolded, and partially nude. In a recorded conversation between the woman and her now ex-husband — made available to the media by the ex-husband — she claims to have seen a flash through the blindfold followed by Greitens saying: “You’re never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be pictures of me everywhere.” In a recent court filing, Greitens’ legal team contends that the woman testified during a deposition that she never saw Greitens with a camera or a phone on the day he is accused of taking the photograph and that the prosecutors withheld information that

supports his innocence. “Of note, the sworn testimony established that [the woman] never saw a photograph, has no evidence of transmission of any image, and that any assertion by [the woman] that she saw a phone on the day in question was based on a dream or vision,” the filing states. After acknowledging she hadn’t seen a camera or phone, she was asked if she saw what she believed to be a phone. She responded, according to court filings, “I haven’t talked about it because I don’t know if it’s because I’m remembering it through a dream or I — I’m not sure, but yes, I feel like I saw it after that happened.” According to the court filing, Greitens’ former-mistress sent partially nude images of herself to him just months after the alleged incident took place. The governor’s legal team cites that as an indication she didn’t feel like her privacy had been violated. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s office responded that the governor is attacking the victim, cherry-picking testimony, and trying to score points through the media. “In this situation, the defense team has cherry-picked bits and pieces of the victim’s nine-hour deposition to attack her credibility. There is nothing substantially new about the

victim’s testimony in the deposition, including the fact that the video camera had malfunctioned. The prosecution has complied with all discovery rules and will continue to do so as required by law,” the statement said. “Week after week, the defense team continues to waste the court’s time with their frivolous motions. It’s clear with these motions, and the hiring of a public relations firm that sends out press releases and court filings to select media, that they are playing political games.” The governor has denied the allegation of blackmail but hasn’t directly answered if he took a photograph or not. He was indicted by a grand jury in February for felony invasion-of-privacy regarding the incident. In February, one of Greitens’ attorneys told a judge that he had been informed by prosecutors that the photo doesn’t exist. First Assistant Circuit Attorney Robert Steele the attorney was incorrect, telling the Kansas City Star that they did not have the photo in their possession at the time. “We plan to get that picture,” he said. The motion from Greitens’ defense team comes as they have been urging a special Missouri House committee to delay its own investigatory report — planned to be released this week — until after Greitens’ trial which starts May 14.

Greitens’ ex-mistress confirms photo — again by Benjamin Peters

benjamin@themissouritimes.com

Less than a day after the legal defense team for Gov. Eric Greitens began questioning the credibility of the woman who lies at the center of the allegations against the embattled Republican governor, she is now firing back through her own attorneys. The latest news this week stems from an interview with the woman, identified only as K.S., after the Governor’s defense attorneys interviewed the woman in an nine-hour deposition. On Sunday, they filed a motion, saying that she had admitted that she cannot say under oath that she ever saw the governor in possession of a camera or cell phone. But in a statement issued by the woman’s attorneys on Monday night, they’re responding to what they’re calling the attempted discrediting of the witness by calling for the

complete transcription of her testimony to be released. More importantly, they stated that Greitens has “on multiple occasions” admitted to taking a photo of the woman without her consent and threatened to release it if she ever spoke of the affair. Here’s the complete, unedited, statement: “Navy Seals have a code that directs its members to take responsibility for their actions and the actions of their teammates. With that code in mind, it is time for Gov. Eric Greitens to take responsibility for his actions as well as the actions of his team which is made up of the best lawyers other people’s money can buy. Gov. Greitens has admitted to my clients, on multiple occasions that he took he photograph, without her consent, and threatened to release it if she ever told anyone about their relationship. Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Gov. Greitens has decided to let his

team attack my client by mischaracterizing her deposition testimony. “In an effort to preserve her privacy and the privacy of her children, my client has refused to comment on this case and her silence has allowed a number of false and misleading statements to go unanswered. However, the most recent attack on my client’s credibility cannot be ignored; it is time to set the record straight. We will support a motion to release the complete transcript of my client’s deposition, so long as her name and other identifying information is redacted. gov. Greitens needs to take responsibility for his actions and be honest about the fact that he took my client’s photograph without her consent. The governor can continue to try this case in the media but at his trial, the facts will speak for themselves. My client has taken responsibility for her actions and it is time Gov. Greitens accepts responsibility for his.”

gag order in criminal case by Ben Striker and Brian Robbins The Clayton Times

St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison issued a tentative gag order on Tuesday to all parties involved in the invasion of privacy case against Missouri Governor Eric Greitens. Following a motion filed by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner Tuesday afternoon, Burlison said he would sign the order, which would prohibit all parties and attorneys involved in the case from making any statements outside of the courtroom that may taint the jury pool. Burlison said it was the duty of the court to avoid tainting the jury pool’s position, and that’s why the partial gag order is in place. The gag order would prevent any party from talking about depositions, the identity of witnesses, testimony, evidence or personal belief in the case in question. Gardner said her office filed the motion after Greitens’ defense attorney, Ed Dowd, made a number of appearances on local TV and radio stations trying to discredit the woman at the center of the case. “We’re here because they went to the news media to talk about the deposition of a victim,” Gardner said. Greitens’ defense team stated during the hearing that if the gag order went into place and the Missouri House investigative committee’s report was to come out, the governor would be defenseless to defend himself. “The idea of putting a gag order on the governor while a state investigation is taking place is extraordinary,” Greitens’ defense attorney James Martin said. Martin added that the gag order “would be reckless to put out a month before (trial).” The latest news comes just days after the governor’s defense attorneys interviewed the woman, identified as K.S., in an hours-long deposition on Friday. Her attorney responded to what he called the attempted discrediting of the witness by calling for the complete transcription of her testimony to be released. More importantly, her attorney stated that Greitens has “on multiple occasions” admitted to taking a photo of the woman without her consent and threatened to release it if she ever spoke of the affair.


www.themissouritimes.com

12 EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Sales tax still plagues Greene County, Auditor still hopes to audit by Benjamin Peters

benjamin@themissouritimes.com

Under the two proposed bills, the companies would return the proceeds of the federal tax cut to the customers within 90 days of the legislation being signed into law. Missouri electric rates have risen by an average of five percent annually over the past decade, but if passed, these two bills would not only refund hundreds of millions of dollars but would also place rate cap increases on companies. The whistleblower allegations her office received say that county employees were asked to perform duties related to the “Invest in Greene County Political Action Committee,” stating that performing duties advocating for the ballot measure was a condition for employment. Other allegations deal with claims that county officials or employees accepted donations for the PAC while on the job and during work hours, and that funds and equipment may have been used. The measure itself was a 1/2-cent general revenue sales tax, passed by the voters on Nov. 7, 2017, with roughly 60 percent of the voters casting votes in favor. In addition to bringing in more revenue, it also triggered provisions to expand the Greene County jail. That particular measure is the point of tension between a state senate candidate and the

county’s law enforcement chief, with County commissioner Lincoln Hough opposing the measure, even offering a lower, last-minute alternative to the tax. And as a candidate seeking to represent the area in the state senate, Hough has found himself in some strange situations within the past year, to which he attributes the cause being his vote against the proposal. In July, Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate Hough for an alleged failure to pay personal property taxes on his cattle. Hough called it “a joke,” saying it was in-

In September, the sheriff pulled over Hough, saying he thought he was driving a little fast. Hough said that the sheriff ’s words about having “a year to charge” him felt like an implicit threat. Arnott told the Springfield News-Leader that he often lets people off with warnings, with the implication being that if he catches them doing it again, he will write them up for both offenses. The two men have been at odds over several issues, including how big a jail expansion should be, as well as the 1/2-cent sales tax. The latest disagreement between the two is over the issue of whether Galloway and her of-

get the answers they deserve is through an independent audit that will account for how public dollars were used,” Galloway said in a statement in late March. “But because of the actions of two Greene County commissioners after they hired a private law firm out of Kansas City, my office has been unable to proceed. With the inability of the Missouri Ethics Commission to act, citizens are left waiting for answers and accountability.” As for an audit by Galloway’s office, they must receive an ordinance or resolution passed by the county commission requesting such an audit. But instead of requesting an audit, two

“As I have said since these allegations in Greene County came to light over three months ago, the best way to ensure taxpayers get the answers they deserve is through an independent audit that will account for how public dollars were used,” Nicole Galloway said in a statement in late March. timidation tactics on the part of the sheriff, and maintained that he had paid all necessary property taxes. On Dec. 18, 2017, a letter from the Highway Patrol stated that a preliminary investigation into the allegations had been completed and that the request would not be approved as they found no apparent violations of Missouri statute.

fice should be allowed to investigate. The County Commission said that the issue would be resolved by a Missouri Ethics Commission investigation, but as of mid-March, the MEC is unable to take action due to the lack of a quorum. “As I have said since these allegations in Greene County came to light over three months ago, the best way to ensure taxpayers

commissioners supported hiring a private law firm, which would be paid for with taxpayer funds. “The fact of the matter is the clock has run out, and the Missouri Ethics Commission is unable to act, leaving Greene County taxpayers without answers. An audit by my office is the only sure path forward,” Auditor Galloway said.

Federal tax cuts could mean about $133 million in savings for Ameren customers by Benjamin Peters

benjamin@themissouritimes.com

As new corporate tax cuts roll into effect, many have been wondering what impact it might have for Missourians. Utility companies are expected to save millions due to the corporate tax rates being cut under the tax reform signed into effect by President Donald Trump. As the Missouri Legislature continues de-

bating over bills that would enact a number of utility reform measures, including rate caps and rate adjustment mechanisms, one of the major caveats in the proposed utility legislation would enact a quick return to customers from the new tax savings. The question, however, is how much could be returned? Several experts and analysts have estimated that it could be in the range of two to four percent in terms of reduction. But a motion filed by Ameren Missouri before the Missouri Public Service Commission

on March 26th shows that the number could lean to the higher side of the spectrum. The filings, which are now being made public, show that the federal tax cut has resulted in approximately $133 million in savings to the company. If that amount were refunded to customers, as is laid out in the two utility reform proposals, HB 2265 and SB 564, then it would result in a 4.86 percent rate cut to customers. There is some fluctuation in the numbers based on the factors, as seen in the document

below, but all of the possible rate outcomes in those scenarios result in at least 4.6 percent in cuts. Under the two proposed bills, the companies would return the proceeds of the federal tax cut to the customers within 90 days of the legislation being signed into law. Missouri electric rates have risen by an average of five percent annually over the past decade, but if passed, these two bills would not only refund hundreds of millions of dollars but would also place rate cap increases on companies.


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The Missouri Times

CAMPAIGN

Coleman hears healthcare, family as leading issues for voters in HD97

Swing district candidate and lawyer mom of 6 in Jefferson, St. Louis Counties hits the campaign trail by Alisha Shurr

alisha@themissouritimes.com

Knocking on doors in her community in her campaign to represent Missouri’s 97th House District has allowed Mary Elizabeth Coleman the opportunity to meet with potential voters and hear their concerns and priorities. “Obamacare has made things really expensive for people, it had increased prices,” Coleman said. “I met a man who owned his own business, last year was a down year for his business and he made $27,000. He is paying premiums for his [family’s] health care and it is $7,000 a year of that $27,000. Now, his wife works as well, but that is a crazy percentage of their income.”

Those she has met with so far have voiced an emphasis affordable healthcare, education, protecting the rights of citizens, and protecting life. Knocking on doors has also helped Coleman face her fear of dogs — she was bitten once and had to get stitches. She didn’t plan on running for office, but after stepping up, hopes to represent the values of the “beautiful,” “family-focused” community where she resides. “[Our community] is very much focused on the long-term and doing what is right and what is going to be in the best interest of our kids,” said Coleman. “We want to make sure that the gifts we have been handed are preserved.” And that’s an attitude she wants to take with her to Jefferson City. Coleman doesn’t know if anyone is ever prepared to transition to a law-

maker, but feels she has the experience to make the move. “I have been a small business owner, I am an attorney, I am a mom, and I really care about the state,” Coleman said. “I do think I have experience that will help me…I think I have the skill set necessary. But I don’t know if anyone is every prepared for drinking out of the fire hose that is learning how to be a legislator.” “I am wary of making these grand promises. I am fully committed to making sure our teachers get the resources they need in the classroom, making sure that education resources are available, and that we have an educated workforce coming forward.” If elected, Coleman plans to read every bill, know the issues the House is planning to vote on, be responsive to constituents, and work for

the betterment of citizens. She wants to “be part of finding the solution.” She recognizes that to get business done for the state, working with other elected officials — whether you agree or disagree with them, whether you like or dislike them — in necessary. “We have more women filing to run this cycle, not just at the national level but at the state level. Not just in the Democratic party but in the Republican party as well,” said Coleman. “It’s not just one side or the other… we all know how much is really at stake.” She points to a study that showed businesses led by women outperform businesses led by males on every metric. “There is no reason that doesn’t translate into the political arena as well,” said Coleman.


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14

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‘Like herding cats to water’:

Vescovo seemlessly transitions to leadership by Alisha Shurr

alisha@themissouritimes.com His first session as majority floor leader in the Missouri House, Rep. Rob Vescovo has shown no hesitation in his new position taking a firm, no-nonsense approach. He has attempted to keep an open mind and an open door, allowing fellow Representatives and citizens of the ShowMe State express their priorities and their opinions on the issues facing Missouri, which Vescovo can then forward those related proposals to the floor for consideration in an efficient and timely manner. “I try to be sensitive to the goals and priorities of our members and of our state as a whole. I believe voters sent us here to work hard and to consider, for passage or failure, as many proposals as we can,” he said. “Therefore, I tend to attempt to advance as many bills as I can, once members are prepared to present them to the body.” “Rob has shown a determination to bring all the bills to the floor and the fact that he takes them in the order received, shows a respect for all members,” said Rep. Kathie Conway. “He is very approachable and has been willing to work with me whenever I have asked for his assistance. I think he will only grow in the position and be better every year." The approach Vescovo took to the first half of session carried over to the second half, expect at a faster pace with a heavier workload as more committees finish their work and the end of session deadline approaches. “I think he has done a great job,” said Rep. Kevin Austin. “He has run a very efficient ship where both sides of the aisle know what to expect. And he has helped the House stay focused, passing a large number of bills without sacrificing quality. This goes without saying his aid off the floor and not in the public eye.” The Representatives in the House are very focused on improving the state with better job opportunities, the fiscal responsibility owed to taxpayers, and a state government that is well-run and responsive to citizens, according to Vescovo. So far this session the House has passed 207 bills, with eight passing the Senate, and the governor signing two. “My goal is to ensure that fair and meaningful debate and deliberations take place on as many pieces of legislation as possible. Sometimes that means allowing lengthy and extended debate on complicated bills. But it also means moving forward with a vote so that other worthwhile

legislation can come to the floor to be considered as well,” Vescovo said on deciding when to move Previous Question. “The voters of Missouri send us here to consider a wide spectrum of proposals, so I try to make sure as many voices as possible get to be heard…not just on one bill, but on many bills.” Going into to the 2018 session, he had a decent handle on what it would be like to be floor leader but the amount of preparation and attention to detail that is required to make House floor activity run smoothly never ceases to impress him. “It takes members and staff working together and putting in many long hours, often behind the scenes, to create an efficient, productive legislative body,” Vescovo said. “And our voters deserve no less.” “Since his election to majority floor leader, Rob Vescovo has displayed qualities that has not only impressed me, but has convinced me the caucus chose a person that can be counted on in the future as a loyal leader in the Republican Party. He has earned the respect of our caucus and constituents,” said Rep. Chuck Basye. The long hours do require additional time spent away from his family, which, according to Vescovo, is the toughest part of the position. “He’s been an absolute professional. He works so hard and is always honest. Most impressive of all, he hasn’t held it against me for supporting his opponent in the floor leader race. He embraced me as a colleague and has treated with the same respect he’s treated everyone else. Rob Vescovo is a true and genuine professional,” said Rep. David Gregory. On the other hand, knowing that the work they are doing here is paving the way for a brighter future for all Missouri families, and especially young people is the best part. The opportunity to advance an agenda for Missouri that would attract more good-paying jobs and opportunities for working families in the state — where his passion lies — is what drew Vescovo to the position. “The deliberative body that is the Missouri House is no less than key underpinning of our system of government,” he said. “Allowing diverse voices of our state to be heard, and forwarding many proposals to be debated and considered is a duty I take very seriously. And at the end of the day, or at the end of a session, that means making sure that our work has made Missouri a better place than it was when we started.”

Lobbyist Moves Courtesy of the Gate Way Group

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Paid for by Missouri REALTORS®, John Sebree, CEO.

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Most Americans still dream of owning their own home. Homeownership strengthens communities, provides stability for families and helps build financial strength. But saving enough money for a down payment and closing costs is too hard for many Missourians—especially for young people and those looking to buy their first home. Low paying jobs, the cost of living and high student loan payments are tough obstacles to overcome. Many people don’t know where to start. That’s why we need the Missouri FirstTime Homebuyer Initiative—a new idea to help prospective homebuyers save for their first home.

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• The maximum amount that can be deposited over the life of the account is $25,000; the maximum total amount in the account is limited to $50,000. • Parents or grandparents can contribute to this account as well. • An amount equal to 50% of the annual contribution may be deducted from the contributor’s taxable gross income and any gain within the account would not be subject to state income taxes. • Money from the savings account would have to be used toward the purchase or construction of a first home.

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1/4/18 12:39 PM

Missouri Times - April 17, 2018  

Report is released and the state responds

Missouri Times - April 17, 2018  

Report is released and the state responds

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