Rep. says colleague bullying commitee investigating Planned Parenthood

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JEFFERSON CITY - The House committee designed to investigate Planned Parenthood received hand-delivered letters from one of its members insisting the committee pull the salary of Department of Mental Health general counsel Gail Vasterling.

Rep. Stacey Newman (D-St. Louis) said the letters from Rep. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) are "harassment and bullying of legislators at its very worst."

In a press release, Newman said the reason Moon wants Vasterling's salary eliminated is because she did not answer questions posed to her by the House commitee. Newman said the committee hearings were a "witch hunt of Planned Parenthood."

Vasterling stepped down as director of the Department of Health and Senior Services in Oct. 2015 and took the job as attorney of Department of Mental Health.

In Moon's letter, he said the reason Vasterling left her position as director of the Department of Health and Senior Services was so she could "side step her responsibility to answer questions about the department's relationship with Planned Parenthood."

Moon also said Vasterling's decision to seek legal advice before answering questions was "an act of blatant disregard for the committee."

Newman's press release said, "The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services conducted their own in their own investigation with no evidence of wrong doing."

The Planned Parenthood Press and Outreach officer of Kansas and Mid-Missouri said, "This is another example of the political bullying happening throughout Jefferson City. Legislators continue attacking people for simply doing their jobs."

KOMU 8 News reached out to Vasterling and Moon and received no response.