Gov. Eric Greitens' campaign committee, Greitens for Missouri, and A New Missouri, the nonprofit organization formed to support Greitens and his policies, must respond to subpoenas issued by a House committee, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled Tuesday morning.
Former Greitens campaign consultant testifiesRead more
Former House Speaker and U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway, now a private practice lawyer who represents both groups, said in a Tuesday afternoon statement: "We are considering our options for an appeal."
No one said Tuesday evening how Greitens' plan to resign Friday affect that ruling or the court's order.
The committee's meetings scheduled for today, Thursday and Friday were canceled Tuesday afternoon.
House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, formed the House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight at the end of February to look into Greitens' legal situation after he was indicted by a St. Louis grand jury on a felony invasion of privacy charge.
The committee recently issued a number of subpoenas to both the campaign committee and A New Missouri, which was formed under the federal IRS 501(c)(4) regulations, so it doesn't have to identify its donors — then asked the circuit court to enforce the subpoenas when the committees sought to block them.
Beetem's six-page ruling Tuesday morning came after he heard arguments for nearly an hour last Wednesday, then gave the attorneys for both sides until the end of Friday to make any final, written arguments for him to consider.
He said the House special committee "is authorized to compel the production of paper and documents by subpoena duces tecum and to enforce same by applying to a judge of this Court."
Greitens resigns as Missouri governorRead more
Beetem noted: "The Missouri House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment" under the state Constitution.
He added: "The power of impeachment inherently includes the power to investigate any grounds for impeachment. The Governor, as an elective executive official of this state, shall be liable for impeachment for crimes, misconduct, habitual drunkenness, willful neglect of duty, corruption in office, incompetency, or any offense involving moral turpitude or oppression in office."
Beetem wrote the House created the committee to investigate allegations made against the governor.
"The Committee clearly has the authority to issue subpoenas, so all their petition really has to prove is that it issued the subpoena and compliance was refused," the judge said. "The burden then shifts to the Respondents."
At the beginning of last week's hearing, former Pettis County Prosecutor Mark Kempton — who is one of two lawyers hired last month as the committee's special counsel — told Beetem the committee wasn't trying to enforce subpoenas that sought personal donor information to either committee.
Beetem on Tuesday ordered the two committees to produce the remaining documents by Friday, adding: "Should a response include the identity of a donor, Respondents are authorized to redact that reference."
Hanaway said: "We are pleased that Judge Beetem protected the identities of supporters of A New Missouri, and not surprised that after the House withdrew 13 of its 18 requests, the Judge ordered us to produce redacted documents."