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Impeachment Hearings Against Nixon Wrap Up, No Vote Yet

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A Missouri House committee has wrapped up hearings into three articles of impeachment against Gov. Jay Nixon but has yet to vote on them.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, says he'll seek input from the rest of the committee before deciding whether to hold a vote on the three impeachment articles.

"Obviously we need to make a decision very (soon)," Cox told reporters after the hearings ended.  "I would have to officially call (another) meeting to go into executive session, but hopefully I can come to some resolution about what their intention is and what they want to do."

Meanwhile, committee member, Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said he has not seen any specific violations of law committed by the Nixon administration. He described the impeachment articles as being politically motivated.

"There have been eight governors impeached in this country, seven of them have been impeached for specific crimes, and one of them was impeached during Reconstruction," Kelly said.  "That doesn't seem to me that our system of government would, at least our tradition, would support impeachments for what are patently political reasons."

  • The first article, HR 380, filed by state Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Parkville, accuses the governor, a Democrat, of violating the state constitution when he issued an executive order requiring the Department of Revenue to accept joint income tax returns from legally married gay couples living in Missouri. 
  • The second, HR 476, filed by state Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, charges Nixon with deliberately taking too long to set special election dates for vacated legislative seats.  
  • The third, HR 923, filed by State Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, accuses him of not disciplining any Department of Revenue officials over controversies involving the state's list of conceal-carry holders.

Seven witnesses showed up to testify, all in favor of impeachment, but due to time constraints only five got the opportunity.  Dr. Pamela Grow of Rolla testified on behalf of the Republican committee for the 120th state House district.  The seat became vacant last year when former state Rep. Jason Smith, a Republican, was elected to Congress.
"Because of (Nixon's) delay, three House districts have no representation whatsoever for the current legislative session; this is approximately 100,000 people," Grow said.  "Delay in scheduling an election is an infringement on the right of suffrage."

Grow is also one of several plaintiffs who have filed suit over the vacancies. Nixon announced in January that he had set Aug. 5 as the date for special elections to fill the three vacant House seats.

If the Judiciary committee votes for one or more of the impeachment articles, those approved would then go before the House Rules Committee.  If they pass there, they would then go before the full House. If the House votes to impeach the governor, the Missouri Senate would then appoint a seven-judge panel to decide whether to remove him from office.

Only one statewide elected official in Missouri has been kicked out of office through impeachment:  Secretary of State Judi Moriarty was removed in 1994 after being accused of backdating election forms for her son so he could run for a state House seat.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.