Last week, a Missouri House investigative committee led by Republicans released a report which stood by the testimony of a woman who said Republican Governor Eric Greitens had groped and assaulted her, after Greitens was charged with felony invasion of privacy in February for taking a nude photo of the woman without her consent and threatening to publish it.
Greitens’ response to that? “This is a political witch hunt,” he told reporters. “This is exactly like what’s happening with the witch hunts in Washington, D.C.”
Now, Greitens might be facing more felony charges. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is also a Republican, announced on Tuesday that over the course of an investigation into The Mission Continues, a veterans’ charity founded by Greitens, his office “uncovered evidence of wrongdoing that goes beyond charity laws” involving Greitens using the charity’s donor list for his political fundraising. Hawley, who called on Greitens to resign last week, said that “potentially criminal acts were committed” by Greitens.
“He did all of this without permission of the Mission Continues,” Hawley said. “This is known as computer tampering. And given the value of the list in question, it is a felony.”
The AP reported in March that Greitens had “used an email address for a veterans charity he founded to arrange political meetings as he prepared to launch his first bid for public office” while he was on the board of directors of The Mission Continues, using that email to send meeting invitations to political consultants while he was preparing to run for governor.
Hawley said that the case isn’t within his jurisdiction, and he turned over the evidence to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, a Democrat who’s also prosecuting Greitens for the invasion of privacy case. (When Gardner filed those charges in February, the Missouri GOP said it was a Soros-backed plot.)
In response, Greitens ripped Hawley, who is currently running in the Republican primary for U.S Senate to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.
“Fortunately for Josh, he’s better at press conferences than the law. Anyone who has set foot in a Missouri courtroom knows these allegations are ridiculous,” Greitens said in a statement. “Josh has turned the ‘evidence’ he claims to have over to St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner — a liberal prosecutor funded by George Soros who allegedly suborned perjury, falsified documents, and withheld evidence. We will dispense with these false allegations.”
It doesn’t look like Greitens is going to resign voluntarily anytime soon. And judging by the response to Hawley, he seems more than comfortable with taking Hawley down with him. The more the merrier!
Update, 8:42 PM ET, 04/17/2018: The Kansas City Star reports that Republican legislative leaders are calling on Greitens to resign:
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, issued a statement Tuesday night saying that Greitens “has no other respectable option than to resign from office.”
“Serving the people of Missouri is an extraordinary honor, one I believe requires each elected official to rise to the occasion,” Richard said. “Sometimes that occasion is knowing when it’s time to step aside. Because of the severity of the allegations, it is my wish that we immediately start impeachment proceedings.”
House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, did not go as far as Richard, saying only that the governor should resign but stopping short of calling for impeachment.
In a statement along with other House leaders, Richardson said that when elected officials “lose the ability to effectively lead our state, the right thing to do is step aside. In our view, the time has come for the governor to resign.”
Update, 9:37 PM ET, 04/17/2018: Greitens says no thank you: