JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The special House committee tasked with investigating allegations against Governor Eric Greitens and determining if he should face impeachment proceedings officially gathered for the first time on Tuesday.
The meeting inside a hearing room at the Missouri State Capitol was largely for ceremonial purposes, with the gathering only lasting a few minutes.
Representative Jay Barnes (R-Cole County), who will oversee the group, outlined the committee’s goals and set media rules for covering the hearings.
“This committee exists solely as a fact finding entity and this is something we take seriously,” he said to the audience at the meeting. “I ask for everyone here to respect this process and to respect witnesses.”
The special House committee, which is made up of five Republicans and two Democrats, has 40 days to determine if Greitens should face the impeachment process.
The group will have the power to subpoena witnesses for interviews and further investigate the case.
Greitens received an indictment in late February charging him with felony invasion of privacy.
Court documents allege that Greitens took a nude photograph of a woman he was having an affair with in 2015 and then transmitted the photo so it could be seen on a computer.
On Tuesday, fellow state lawmakers told 41 Action News that they looked forward to seeing what the committee could find.
“It’s good the process has started. We need to get through this,” explained Senator Paul Weiland (R-Jefferson County). “The fact that they’re getting on it quickly, hopefully it will conclude quickly and we can get this behind us and keep moving forward.”
Weiland withheld an opinion on whether he thought Greitens should resign or be impeached for the allegations, but said he looked forward to the truth eventually being found.
“The only thing I would hope for is that they do a thorough job and whatever they decide to do is backed up with facts,” he explained. “I want them to get to the truth. I’m not really hoping for one side or one direction. I just want to get it resolved and get it behind us.”
Other lawmakers told 41 Action News that the case against Greitens had cast a dark cloud over Jefferson City.
“I think the whole thing with the governor has been a distraction,” explained Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City). “We don’t very often have a governor whose charged with a felony invasion of privacy.”
The special House committee investigating the allegations against Governor Eric Greitens will meet again on Wednesday during a closed session in Jefferson City.
If the group decides the governor should face impeachment proceedings, the case would then move onto the Senate.