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Lawmakers differ on how to handle Greitens scandal

Lawmakers differ on how to handle...

Each office of the Missouri State Capitol comes with a different opinion on how the legislature should handle the controversy surrounding the governor's office.

ABC 17 News spoke to several lawmakers about Gov. Eric Greitens' future in office after he admitted to an extramarital affair, while rebuking allegations he blackmailed his mistress.

"There is an investigation going on, and you know, I think we need to let that investigation happen," Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, House Minority Floor Leader said. "Let's see what comes out of it, and then make a decision."

"Is it a distraction? Yes," Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick (R - Shell Knob) said. "But I think there are distractions that occur every year. I think that it's worth it from my perspective to let the governor make his own decision about whether he feels like he can continue to serve."

"I just hope the governor does the right thing and doesn't force the legislature to drag him kicking and screaming," Sen. Rob Schaaf (R - St. Joseph) said in support of Greitens' resignation.

While some lawmakers ABC 17 News spoke to have called on Greitens to step down, many of them are looking toward the resolution of a criminal investigation when it comes to starting the impeachment process.

Susan Ryan, spokeswoman for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office, said the investigation in ongoing.

"If anyone has any information regarding the matter, we encourage them to contact the Circuit Attorney’s Office."

The state constitution leaves it to the House of Representatives to draft and pass any articles of impeachment against a member of the executive branch. If passed, it would be up to a seven-judge panel put together by the Senate to decide if the governor did violate the constitution. The Missouri Supreme Court decides on the issue in the case of any other executive official.

The court last decided to impeach someone in 1994, when Secretary of State Judith Moriarty faced the court.

Impeachment of a sitting governor, however, would be unprecedented in Missouri. Legislative researchers tell ABC 17 News that the House has never voted to start the impeachment process.

Marc Powers, Beatty's chief of staff, told ABC 17 News that the party has not drafted any articles of impeachment yet.

"We will, however, re-evaluate that position as the situation develops and new information comes to light," Powers said. "But for now, we want to tread carefully and not run the risk of interfering with the criminal investigation."

Jim Bennett, Greitens' personal attorney, said the governor has no intention to step down.

 

 

 


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