GOP Senators Pushing Back Against Greitens' Bullying

More senators are pushing back on Gov. Greitens' unethical behavior, corruption, and bullying in Missouri politics.

Earlier this week, Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-21) took to the Senate floor to push back against the Governor's office and specifically Austin Chambers, his "21 year old senior advisor." Chambers double-downed and justified pushing Sen. Schaaf's personal cell number on Twitter. 

Hoskins: What I want to talk about this morning is a quote I woke to this morning from Austin Chambers, the senior advisor to the Governor. Austin Chambers has said he works for three entities: 1. the Governor of the state of Missouri 2. the Governor's campaign 3. A New Missouri, a not for profit 501(c)4. The quote that he gave that was in the media was this, 'This isn't about just something against the Senator from Buchanan.' Chambers said, 'If there are others who are standing in the way then we will engage with them too.' Let me say that again. If that doesn't sound like a threat, I don't know what does. Austin Chambers: 'This isn't about just something against the Senator from Buchanan. If there are others who are standing in the way then we will engage with them too.' I've got a message for Austin Chambers. He's a man of great quotes, he reall likes quotes, so I've got two quotes for him. 'Beware of those with sharp tongues, for they may cut their own throats,' and 'don't throw stones in glass houses.'

...

Hoskins: It's really easy to go around throwing corruption charges, especially when you're a 21 year old senior advisor to the Governor, and lob out bombs, whether it's on Twitter or Facebook, throw out the Senator from Buchanan's personal cell number. That is just dirty politics. And that's not why I came here to the Missouri State Senate. I don't believe that that's why my 175,000 constituents from the 21st District sent me here, Mr. President. This dirty politics from Austin Chambers and being in campaign mode has to stop. It has to stop.

...

Schaaf: It isn't Austin Chambers who is doing this. It's the Governor. Austin Chamber's the Governor's senior advisor; he takes his marching orders from the Governor.  Everything that Austin Chambers does, it's the Governor who's doing it. We have checks and balances, and what Austin Chambers is saying is we have another lever to put on the legislature. We have the lever of ads, we are going to put your personal number out, we are going to call you out, we are going to push the Governor's agenda through this other mechanism of the secret dark money donors that he has. THAT IS NOT OKAY.

We are not going to change the structure of the state government. Every single member of this body has to be able to have a free and fair discussion. Not a discussion where we are afraid of doing the right thing because the governor is going to run $30,000 worth of ads in our home districts to stop, push us to do his work and agenda when it may not be ours. That is not okay.

We are not going to stand for this, and as far as I'm concerned, Governor, I don't care about your agenda. We are going to pass the budget because we are constitutionally required to do it. The 501(c)4 has become public enemy number one. It is the enemy of this and the other body. It is the enemy of the constitution and the people. It has to be stopped. The only way it can be stopped, and that we can move forward, is if we pass ethics legislation that discloses the dark money that is being used against us. Every single one of us will be under the threat of the Governor using his newfound power, and stopping us from being able to the have the free discussion we have to have. 

It isn't just the Senators who have noticed the direct impact of Greitens' dark money either.

From the St. Joseph News-Press

Given an embarrassment of riches by Missourians, though, lawmakers have sorted through their mandate not by taking dead aim on priorities but by inflicting themselves with inexplicable wounds.

Such is the infighting in the Senate that a nonprofit organization that champions Greitens’ agenda began online attack ads last week lambasting fellow Republican Rob Schaaf, the state senator from St. Joseph, even urging people to call the lawmaker’s personal cellphone number.

No matter what you make of the issues or the individuals, it was a bush-league move.

Argue your point with facts and fidelity, and you have a chance of being seen as principled.

Engage in name-calling and cause a guy’s voice mail to fill up, you just look small.

Also, it hasn't gone unnoticed that the governor has higher aspirations and will browbeat the Missouri Legislature to get him there.

From the KC Star

For the governor’s office, politics aren’t just first on the agenda — they’re the only thing that matter.

Do we need more evidence? The governor’s call for ethics reform has collapsed, largely because of his own behavior. His first budget, delivered late, hasn’t passed. Greitens has accomplished little in his first 100 days — other than antagonize Republicans, reporters and Democrats.

I’ve criticized Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for a long time, but give him his due: Brownback fights for something real. There is real policy behind his work.

The same cannot be said of Greitens. He seems driven, even at this early date, by calculations that ignore governing.

Unless he grasps that reality, the governor’s obvious future ambitions will be not much more than a punchline.

There's a history of this aggressive behavior. Earlier this year, the Governor attempted to bully Sens. Hoskins and Wieland into voting his way on the legislative wage hike, which turned a story about the Senate into one of gubernatorial interference.

Greitens ran on anti-corruption and cleaning up Jefferson City. His actions have directly contradicted this claim, and he continues to undermine any legislative attempt to actually clean up our state government.

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