St. Louis investigators are questioning Missouri lawmakers as part of an ongoing criminal probe into Gov. Eric Greitens (R).
In a Wednesday visit to the Capitol, two investigators working with the office of St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner interviewed a number of lawmakers from both parties about Greitens’ conduct, the Kansas City Star reported Wednesday.
The questions they’re asking suggest that Gardner’s investigation has expanded beyond allegations that Greitens blackmailed and once slapped a woman with whom he carried out an extramarital affair, to look at Greitens’ campaign finance practices.
State Rep. Nate Walker, a Republican and an early supporter of the governor who has since called for him to step down, told the Star that the inquiries covered issues including “dark money and different things like that.”
In a Thursday phone call with TPM, Walker declined to expand further on the questions he received from investigators but said he had the impression from the sit-down in his office that this was a “pretty major investigation.”
Walker reiterated his belief that the various scandals engulfing Greitens had become a “major distraction” and that the governor needs to step down.
Greitens has admitted to the affair but denied allegations that he took a nude photograph of the woman and threatened to release it if she went public.
Greitens ran on a platform of government transparency, but has come under fire during his first year in office for relying heavily on contributions from nonprofits that engage in political activity without disclosing their donors.
Gardner’s office confirmed to the Star that Jack Foley and William Tisaby — a pair of private investigators with FBI experience — conducted the interviews with lawmakers.
Democratic Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said during a Wednesday Senate debate that Foley and Tisaby had tried to contact her, according to the Star. Reached for comment, a spokeswoman told TPM Chappelle-Nadal has not yet met with the investigators and had no further information on what they were looking for.
Other signals have emerged suggesting that Gardner’s inquiry may be escalating. A lawyer for the woman’s husband, Al Watkins, told reporters last week that the circuit attorney’s office has convened a grand jury.
Watkins said his client was served with a subpoena to provide testimony.
Greitens and his attorney, Jim Bennett, have said they have received no contact from law enforcement officials.
Bennett told the Star Wednesday that they believe “any fair investigation will result in a conclusion that Gov. Greitens has committed no wrongdoing.”