Jefferson City – A GOP lobbyist recently registered to represent both embattled Governor Eric Greitens and GOP megadonor and RTW backer David Humphreys–– then quickly unregistered from representing Humphreys when reporters noticed the connection.
Jason Hancock of the Kansas City Star reported Aaron Baker, who is employed by the consulting firm of veteran Republican operative Jeff Roe, disclosed to the Missouri Ethics Commission that he was lobbying on behalf of Dowd Bennett, a St. Louis law firm defending Greitens against a felony invasion of privacy indictment handed down by a grand jury.
Baker disclosed to the Ethics Commission that as part of his duties representing Dowd Bennett he also would be lobbying on behalf of Greitens.
On the same day that he registered to lobby for Greitens, Baker also registered as a lobbyist for Joplin businessman and GOP mega donor David Humphreys, owner of TAMKO Building Products, who contributed millions during the 2016 election cycle to elect Greitens, Attorney General Josh Hawley and a slew of legislators committed to passing phony “right-to-work” legislation.
Humphreys personally donated nearly $1.3 million to Greitens’ campaign in 2016. Members of his family gave Greitens an additional $1 million.
Now it appears that Humphreys’ voice in the Capitol is carrying the water for Greitens as he tries to fend off possible impeachment in the Missouri House.
“Rats run in packs,” Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO said. “It doesn’t surprise me. Humphreys has paid Greitens’ way for everything he’s accomplished with dark money and it’s just a continuation of that pushing of the envelope.
“This governor’s agenda was to drain the swamp,” Louis said, “and it looks like he’s become a huge part of the swamp.”
CRIMINAL CHARGE, HOUSE INVESTIGATION
The felony charge against Greitens stems from allegations that he threatened to release a nude photograph of a woman, taken while she was blindfolded and her hands were bound, if she spoke about their 2015 affair.
The criminal investigation, led by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, is ongoing.
The Missouri House has formed a Special Investigative Committee on Oversight led by Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) to investigate the incident and report back to the House within 40 days. The committee has subpoena power, is permitted to hire a private investigator and will be allowed to close testimony to the public to protect witnesses. At the completion of its investigation, if good cause is found, the committee could draft articles of impeachment to be reported to the House.
A constitutional majority in the House — 82 of the chamber’s 163 members — would be needed to impeach Greitens.
The House currently has 115 Republicans and 47 Democrats.
GREITENS’ PHONY ETHICS
Greitens retaining a lobbyist flies in the face of his 2016 campaign, which was based on the premise that lobbyists and insiders were corrupting state government.
“I will defeat you,” he said in a speech kicking off his campaign. “I will expose your lies. I will root out your corruption. I will see you out of the people’s Capitol, even if in sight of the statue of Thomas Jefferson I have to throw you down the steps of the Capitol myself.”
Now it’s Greitens who might get thrown down the Capitol steps.