A panel set up to investigate the indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens now has the official go-ahead from the Missouri House.
The chamber on Thursday voted unanimously, 154-0, on a resolution that gives authority to the committee to hold hearings, subpoena witnesses and issue a report that could include a recommendation to impeach the governor. It could also take the lesser action of censuring the governor — essentially a written reprimand — or choose no action.
The Special Investigative Committee on Oversight has 40 days, starting today, to investigate the indictment and issue a report to the full House, although it has the authority to extend its investigation beyond the April 9 deadline.
Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, tried to amend the language by cutting the time frame to 30 days and barring the committee from making extensions without permission from the entire House.
“It’s only fair that we have a definite time period in which we can consider those facts that the investigatory committee comes back with, so that we continue to do our job of legislating and continue to do our job of considering laws,” he said. “It’s only fair to the House, only fair to the Senate, (and) to the governor, even; the governor maintains his innocence, and he insists on retaining his office, and so it’s only fair to him that we decide quickly so this state can move forward.”
The amendment was defeated on a voice vote. Fourteen amendments offered up by Democrats were never brought up. The only change approved was a grammar correction.
The resolution gives the committee the authority to subpoena witnesses, but also allows them to testify behind closed doors. Committee chairman, Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, defended the provision.
“We do not want other potential witnesses to potentially change their testimony based on what they had heard from previous witnesses,” he said. “That is standard course in litigation, to exclude witnesses from the courtroom while other witnesses are testifying.”
No hearings have been scheduled yet.
Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport