Any remaining support Gov. Eric Greitens may have had from the Missouri legislature’s top Republican leaders is now gone.
Both House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and Senate President Pro-tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, say it’s time for Greitens to step down.
In a written statement Tuesday, Richardson, along with Speaker Pro-tem Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, and GOP Floor Leader Rob Vescovo, R-Arnold, cited Attorney General Josh Hawley’s report that alleges Greitens illegally used a list of donors from a charity he founded to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.
“We believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions. Leaders at all levels of government are entrusted with an incredible responsibility to the Missourians we represent. When leaders lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside.”
After the statement was released Greitens again said he would not resign.
Greitens also faces an invasion of privacy trial next month for allegedly taking a seminude photo of a woman with whom he had an affair before he was governor, without her consent.
While also calling for Greitens to resign, Richard went a step further: “Because of the severity of the allegations, it is my wish that we immediately start impeachment proceedings.”
“We are past the point of concerning and alarming,” Richard said. “Since his time in office, the governor has caused tension, conflict and hostility. The weight of his actions are being felt throughout the state. Now, these alleged illegal actions are further harmful to the people of Missouri and do not represent Missouri values.”
Meanwhile, a petition is being circulated among House members that would call the chamber into a special session, for the purpose of considering any actions that could be recommended by the committee investigating Greitens. Among those who’ve already signed is Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville.
“Most of my colleagues have a high level of respect for Speaker Richardson and trust his judgment,” she said. “Hopefully we will be able to at least [have] the opportunity to let the committee finish [its] work and then make a decision as to what direction we want to go.”
Haefner called on the governor to resign nearly two months ago, as did fellow Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin. Dogan said he’s especially alarmed now about the findings in Hawley’s investigation that allege Greitens used a donor list from The Mission Continues to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign.
“Before I got elected to office I worked for Washington University doing fundraising,” Dogan said. “It’s an issue that’s easy for me to understand — you do not commingle non-profit lists with political activity.”
Greitens issued a response to House and Senate Republican leaders via Twitter:
I will not be resigning the Governor's office. In three weeks, this matter will go to a court of law—where it belongs and where the facts will prove my innocence. Until then, I will do what the people of Missouri sent me here to do: to serve them and work hard on their behalf.— Eric Greitens (@EricGreitens) April 18, 2018
Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport