BOONE COUNTY REPUBLICANS REACT TO HAWLEY FINDINGS
JEFFERSON CITY - With allegations of "new potential criminal violations," and renewed calls for his resignation, Gov. Eric Greitens released a Monday night statement saying he will not step down.
Just 25 minutes earlier, the House leadership, including Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, released a statement saying, "We believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions."
Greitens, who is embroiled in a blackmail scandal, faces new allegations related to campaign fundraising.
Attorney General Josh Hawley said Monday evidence shows Greitens took an electronic donor list from a charity and used it for political fundraising. Hawley said that amounts to felony computer tampering.
This comes as Greitens is embroiled in a blackmail scandal and faces criminal charges of invasion of privacy. He denies taking a nude photo of a woman he had an affair with and using it to threaten her.
A House investigative committee looking into those allegations released a report last week saying it found the woman "credible."
Monday's statement by the House leadership said, "After thoughtful consideration of the findings in the House committee’s report and today’s news that the Attorney General has evidence to support another felony charge, we believe the governor needs to take responsibility for his actions."
One the Senate side, President Pro Tem Ron Richardson, R-Joplin, released his own statement saying things have reached a "critical turning point."
"I believe the governor has no other respectable option than to resign from office," he said.
The democratic chorus was loud.
Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said the new allegations are "more fuel to what we've already seen."
"We are still under the belief that the governor needs to resign," she said. "I also think we are under the belief that if he is refusing to do so, then it is our obligation to take the next steps and start the impeachment process."
It was a refrain heard over and over.
"We should be impeaching the governor right now," said Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis.
"Impeachment is a serious process and everybody involved, republicans, democrats, the judicial system, we need to make sure we are doing it right, make sure we're taking our time," Zweifel said.
Boone County republicans are saying, not so fast.
Mike Zweifel, Boone County Republican Central Committee Chair, said, "I think we need to let the process play out, although it's always an option for the governor to do so (resign), he hasn't had his day in court so I think that we need to let everything play out in the legal process."
He said impeachment is a serious process.
"Everybody involved, republicans, democrats, the judicial system, we need to make sure we are doing it right, make sure we're taking our time," Zweifel said.
Zweifel said there are members in the Boone County Republicans who are not in support of Greitens and the committee is divided.
KOMU 8 News also reached out the Boone County Democratic Party but they were not able to provide a statement or do an interview Tuesday.