House committee chair says state should not pay Greitens' legal fees

7 months 5 days 22 hours ago Tuesday, June 12 2018 Jun 12, 2018 Tuesday, June 12, 2018 1:31:00 PM CDT June 12, 2018 in News
By: Annie Hammock, KOMU 8 Interactive Director

JEFFERSON CITY - The chairman of the house committee that investigated former Gov. Eric Greitens is urging the state Office of Administration to refuse to pay Greitens' legal fees.

In a letter to the office Tuesday, Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City , said, "Instead of placing the burden on Missouri taxpayers, those legal fees should be borne exclusively by Eric Greitens himself."

Attorneys Ross Garber and Edward Greim worked for Greitens as the Missouri House was considering possible disciplinary action against him, including the possibility of impeachment. Barnes said they are reportedly billing the state $153,000.

At the time, Greitens was embroiled in two scandals - accusations of blackmail related to an affair, and allegations of computer tampering in relation to his use of a charity donor list for campaign financing.

Garber and Greim contend they were not just working Greitens, but for the Office of the Governor.

In his letter, Barnes said, as a matter of principal, impeachment, and potential impeachment of an elected official is "an act against a person," not an act against the office.

"The 'Office of the Governor' as an entity is unaffected by any impeachment proceeding. Instead, it exists in perpetuity, regardless of the particular individual who holds the office," Barnes said.

Barnes also take exception to what he calls Greitens' attempt to use the Office of the Governor as "leverage" to secure his freedom. Greitens' resignation was part of a deal with the St. Louis circuit attorney, who, in return, dropped the felony computer tampering charge.

Barnes said, "Missouri taxpayers should not be on the hook for lawyers that Eric Greitens used for his own personal purposes. Accordingly, if Garber and Greim seek compensation, they should do so from Eric Greitens himself, not Missouri taxpayers."

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