Say the panel concludes that, based on its findings, the House should begin impeachment proceedings against Greitens in connection with the 2015 affair that led to his indictment on a felony invasion-of-privacy charge. The only logical response will be to wonder exactly how the committee came to that conclusion.
And if they decide against impeachment proceedings? See above.
Either way, a behind-closed-doors look into the possibly criminal behind-closed-doors behavior of the consistently secrecy-loving governor will do nothing to reassure the public or restore its confidence. How could it?
Nevertheless, the committee formed by House Speaker Todd Richardson to investigate Greitens voted unanimously, without even any discussion, to close Wednesday’s meeting at the Jefferson City Police Department. Greitens is accused of taking a compromising photograph of a woman without her consent. He has admitted to the affair but has denied breaking any laws.
Republican Rep. Jay Barnes, who chairs the committee, said that holding open proceedings would undermine the group’s ability to uncover the facts.
Barnes also said the committee has a responsibility to protect the identities of witnesses and warned reporters not to waste their time trying to find out anything about the process until the panel issues a final report.
The problem with that is that like the governor and every member of the panel, the press works for the public, and the public has a more than legitimate interest in making sure that the group decides on the facts rather than for any political or personal reason.
When the governor goes on trial in May, the facts will be reviewed and witnesses heard from in open court.
Though we understand why the panel would want to protect the privacy of the woman allegedly threatened with blackmail by Greitens, impeachment is a serious matter. If those we elect to represent us could in all cases be trusted to do the right thing behind closed doors, this panel wouldn’t exist.
But it’s in his interest that it instead happen in broad daylight. To paraphrase Jay Barnes, to do anything else will be a waste of his panel’s publicly-funded time.