Bad Coverage of Greitens Resignation

I have been disappointed so far with the national coverage of Gov. Eric Greitens’s resignation. The television nightly news and most other outlets have focused on the sexual misconduct allegations against him, which in fact are the least of his problems. Those charges had been withdrawn, and few people in the state think they will ever be prosecuted, mostly because the evidence is hinky and the woman doesn’t want to pursue the case.

Why Greitens resigned today: The Missouri House has been investigating Greitens as it moved toward possible impeachment. Today a court ordered that Greitens had to turn over documents from his dark money political group to the House committee doing the investigation. It took him an entire hour after that to announce his resignation. One suspects that court order had more to do with the resignation than the affair, which we found out about several weeks ago.

The dark money group, A New Missouri, was formed right after Greitens was elected to support his agenda. It’s called “dark money” because it is set up so that the names of donors don’t have to be disclosed. The problem is that there is no apparent firewall between the governor’s office and this dark money group. That means there could be massive conflicts of interest, with people giving money to the group in order to get state contracts or get laws passed that favor their business.

In possibly related charges, the Governor and his staff were caught erasing emails and using a phone app that destroys emails, in violation of state “sunshine” laws.

It is unlikely the Republican House will pursue further investigation of Greitens now that he’s resigned, but he could still face criminal charges. He’s still under indictment for finance violations. There is a lot of speculation on local news that his resignation was part of a plea deal with the prosecutor. We may learn more tomorrow.

Here’s some basic background into his other problem:

Lawmakers from both parties immediately began questioning whether Greitens could continue to lead the state. The House authorized the legislative investigation a week after the indictment.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley also launched an inquiry into a veterans’ charity Greitens founded. Federal law bars 501(c)(3) charities such as The Mission Continues from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of candidates.

The Associated Press first reported in October 2016 that Greitens’ campaign had obtained a list of individuals, corporations and other nonprofits that had given at least $1,000 to The Mission Continues. The AP reported that Greitens raised about $2 million from those who had previously given significant amounts to the charity.

Hawley, a Republican running for U.S. Senate, turned evidence over to Gardner, saying April 17 that he believed Greitens had broken the law. Her office charged him with tampering with computer data for allegedly disclosing the donor list without the charity’s permission.

A May 2 report from a special House investigatory committee indicated that Greitens himself received the donor list and later directed aides to work off it to raise money for his gubernatorial campaign. A former campaign aide testified that he was duped into taking the fall when the campaign tried to explain how it had gotten the list.

I don’t think the alleged affair with the hairdresser really has much to do with his resignation today.

Rosanne Barr, Eric Greitens, Puerto Rico

Today there is important news and unimportant news. The unimportant news is that ABC canceled the new Roseanne series after Roseanne Barr tweeted about Valerie Jarrett of the Obama Administration: “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.” Barr’s agent dropped her also.

The tweet prompted swift outcry online, including from members of the Hollywood community. The outspoken, controversial Roseanne creator and star initially defended her words as “a joke,” then later issued an apology: “I apologize to Valerie Jarrett and to all Americans. I am truly sorry for making a bad joke about her politics and her looks.”

But the damage was done. Roseanne writer and consulting producer Wanda Sykes on Tuesday tweeted her resignation from the show, and a little over an hour later ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey canceled the hit comedy, whose first revived season set viewership records and prompted a swift renewal for season two.

I haven’t watched any of the series, so I cannot comment on its merits. But I have no problem with sending Rosanne Barr into retirement.

Now, on to important news.  Matt Shuham at Talking Points Memo reports that Missouri Governor Eric Greitens is expected to resign any minute now. Sending him into retirement wouldn’t bother me, either. He’s been increasingly embarassing. Most recently he’s been running a demented television ad blaming George Soros for the charges against him. I’m serious. If I can find a video of the ad I’ll post it sometime. It’s fascinating, in an oh look at the road kill kind of way.

Update: Yep, he just resigned.

The announcement came hours after damaging testimony by a former campaign aide to a House committee investigating Greitens, and a separate ruling by a judge forcing the governor’s campaign to reveal fundraising information.

This is in relation to impeachment hearings, so by resigning I assume he can avoid revealing the fundraising information, at least for now. The Lieutenant Governor who will step into the govenor’s job also is a Republican, so I’m not expecting anything to improve.

A Harvard study estimates that at least 4,645 died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Marie and the inadequate response to it. The Trump Administration still claims that only 64 people died. This is from WaPo:

A new Harvard study published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that at least 4,645 deaths can be linked to the hurricane and its immediate aftermath, making the storm far deadlier than previously thought. Official estimates have placed the number of dead at 64, a count that has drawn sharp criticism from experts and local residents and spurred the government to order an independent review that has yet to be completed.

Many of the deaths were caused by disruptions in medical services to the chronically ill and the loss of electricity and clean water.