A bombshell revelation of marital impropriety and alleged blackmail by Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens Wednesday has sent shock waves throughout the Missouri Legislature with lawmakers from both parties questioning his leadership.
The allegations are coming from members of his own Republican party as well, with many former supporters distancing themselves or condemning his actions.
State Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, was critical of Greitens shortly after the election, saying there was a need to mend fences with lawmakers he criticized during the campaign.
Since then, Schatz has warmed to the governor and was invited to accompany him to Europe last summer.
On Thursday, Schatz issued a two-sentence statement regarding the recent allegations against the governor.
“I am deeply troubled by these allegations,” he said. “If true, the governor should consider if he is best fit to lead the state.”
Schatz added he was not sure what tools would be available to the Senate and they should be thoughtful and careful not to rush to judgment before all the facts are known.
“We know this may be a topic of discussion for some time,” he said. “If there is something that needs to be found out, let’s get to it and get it behind us. Until then, it’s business as usual and we will be moving legislation forward.”
He added if there would be any internal investigations conducted by the Senate, appointments would be made by the Senate Pro Tempore.
State Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Washington, says he is deeply upset about the governor’s actions, but is withholding any further comments until all of the facts are taken under consideration.
“At this time, I don’t want to make any comments that may or may not hurt a possible investigation by the House or Senate,” Alferman said.
He added the scandal is now monopolizing legislative time in both chambers and has stalled a lobbyist expenditure bill he sponsored that was very near House passage.
“It’s going to be hard for the bill to get floor time now,” Alferman said. “They are not going to take up an ethics bill so close to a scandal like this.”
State Rep. Nathan Tate, R-St. Clair, echoed the attitudes of Schatz and Alferman of not letting the gubernatorial allegations hinder the forward progress of the Legislature.
“It’s sad what happened but we still have a lot of work to do,” Tate said. “I don’t have any comment at this time. We don’t have all of the facts and I want to be fair to everyone involved.”
State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, said leadership is sacred to who we are as a people and any issue like this should be taken as seriously as possible.
“I really don’t know what comments to make right now,” he said. “There is a process we must go through before making a conclusion.”
Curtman added since the allegations were just made public Wednesday, there aren’t enough of the facts and the Legislators have not had enough time to process the little bits of information they have.
“I want to know what’s real and what’s not real,” he said. “There is certainly more information we need to know in this case.”