Former Missouri lawmaker talks past impeachment proceedings

Posted at 8:54 PM, May 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-04 00:21:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens continues to face calls of impeachment, a former Missouri state lawmaker said certain parallels could be seen from the last time an elected state official was impeached and removed from office.

Back in 1994, Judith Moriarty became the first ever woman to serve as Missouri secretary of state.

However, that same year, the capital became embroiled in controversy after allegations came out of Moriarity using her position to help her son.

The secretary of state was accused of backdating a campaign form to allow her son to run in a state House election after he had missed a deadline.

The accusations led to Moriarty facing impeachment proceedings and eventually being removed from office.

Bill Skaggs served as a state representative from 1983 to 2002 and remembered being on the transition team for Moriarty.

“We all liked Judy. She was a nice lady,” he said. “It was a sad time for the state and for her friends and the people in the legislature that had to do that (impeachment).”

In an interview with 41 Action News on Thursday, Skaggs said state lawmakers had to respond when the allegations against Moriarty came out. 

“When elected officials do things that are blatantly improper as that was, you have to take action,” he said. “Nobody really wanted to do it but it was something we had to do.”

More than 20 years later, Missouri once again faces the possibility of experiencing impeachment proceedings.

Skaggs said lawmakers will likely face tough decisions on Greitens in the weeks ahead.

“It’s not good for the state to have to go through this process,” he explained. “When you remove someone from office that the people elected, there needs to be cause.”

With Greitens now facing two felony charges, Skaggs said the current case is much different than the one in 1994.

“The secretary of state is a very important position but the governor is the leader of the state,” he explained.

Despite the differences in roles and accusations, Skaggs also noted how the two cases share similarities.

Democrats, who held the majority in the state in 1994, had to oust Moriarty despite her ties to the party.

Now, Republicans may be forced to experience a similar situation with Greitens.

“You just hate it for your state, regardless of who the person is,” Skaggs said. “I hate it for Eric Greitens. It’s a shame that it has happened.”

Moving forward, Skaggs wonders what could happen next in the Greitens case.

“It’ll be nice to get this thing behind us for whatever happens,” he said.