JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House of Representatives canceled most of its business Wednesday and all activities scheduled for Thursday as it prepared to release an investigative report on Gov. Eric Greitens.
No announcement was made as to why, but multiple lawmakers said the action was likely taken because of the report's release, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. A special committee has been investigating questions surrounding Greitens' 2015 extramarital affair with his hairdresser.
“I have no idea,” Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport said when asked why activities were canceled. “We haven’t been told anything yet. We were told earlier in the week we’d have a pretty light schedule (on Thursday)."
“When something like this happens, we usually find out much later,” Rep. Justin Hill, R-Lake St. Louis said.
Speaker of the House Todd Richardson's office would not comment.
House Republicans left the Capitol early Wednesday afternoon to meet at a local business. Democrats were meeting in private in the Capitol basement.
Democrats were a tad more forthcoming when asked about the cancellation.
Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, said in a text message that she believes the cancellations were done so Republican leadership could have time to deal with the Greitens report.
State Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, said, “I suspect everyone is going to need some time to digest what they’re reading. People are going to, I suspect, need some time to cool down as well.”
Kendrick and others said the issues surrounding the investigation have been a distraction.
“It’s been a disruption,” Kendrick said. “Don’t let anybody tell you it hasn’t been a disruption. The House has been passing bills out, but you can’t go anywhere without being asked about it.”
“It’s a constant conversation on the House floor,” Kendrick added. “It’s constantly talked about in offices. It’s a major distraction. And it’s growing at this point. It seems like the storm’s on the horizon. It’s in everybody’s view at this point, and it’s going to be very disruptive.”
When asked what time he might leave the building today, Rep. Hill said he wasn’t sure.
“It depends what happens; I may not want to talk to folks like you,” Hill joked.
Rep. Karla May, D-St. Louis, was visibly frustrated when asked about the session.
“We should be doing business. We only have five weeks left, and we have so much to be doing. This is a distraction from the business we should be doing,” May said.
When asked whether her office was going to release a statement after the report is published, May responded, “It’s irrelevant. Whether the governor stays or goes, I just want the legislature to do its job.”
Republican Nate Walker of Kirksville disagreed about the distraction that the governor investigation is creating.
“I think the legislature has handled everything quite well,” Walker said. “I don’t believe this will derail anything the House or the Senate are working on.”
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