The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to impeach Secretary of
State Judith K. Moriarty for misconduct that "breached the public
The move, the first impeachment in Missouri in 26 years, came
at 4:25 p.m. in a hushed House chamber. With a solemn Moriarty
looking on, legislators pressed their voting buttons and watched
the roll-call boards light up with green "yes" votes.
The key vote to impeach - the first to pass - was 103-42. Two
other impeachment articles passed by similar margins. The House
defeated three other proposed articles of impeachment.
Afterward, Moriarty said she had no plans to step down and
would challenge Gov. Mel Carnahan's authority to suspend her. "I'm
going to take the last step in the road" - a trial in the Missouri
Supreme Court, she said.
Moriarty blamed the House vote on "political pressure" from
Carnahan and House Speaker Bob F. Griffin, fellow Democrats. "This
whole process is political," she said.
Carnahan said he believed the office was "legally vacated," but
since Moriarty is not leaving, Attorney General Jay Nixon will ask
the Missouri Supreme Court today to suspend her.
"We are going to try not to be confrontational," Carnahan said.
"I take no pleasure in what happened. What the House did today was
the only thing it could do under the circumstances."
Under state law, the governor must appoint someone to run the
office temporarily until the Supreme Court decides whether to oust
Moriarty. Carnahan said he has picked someone but will not identify
that person until Moriarty leaves.
Rising Above `Partisan Politics'
Griffin commended the House for rising above "partisan politics
to deal with this very serious and important issue. I don't think
anybody can seriously question the fairness" of the House
Moriarty, 52, won her office in the Democratic sweep of
November 1992. She had been considered the underdog because of her
lack of funds and name recognition. In the general election, she
got 1,140,424 votes to former Rep. John Hancock's 1,107,701.
Moriarty had served as the Pettis County clerk, in Sedalia, for
10 years. She is the first woman elected Missouri's secretary of
In all, the House approved three articles of impeachment and
defeated three others on Thursday. The approved articles allege
that Moriarty directed her son, Timothy Moriarty, and aide Barbara
Campbell to sign Timothy Moriarty's declaration of candidacy for
the state House weeks after the filing deadline. The articles
passed by votes of 103-42, 104-41 and 103-40.
The defeated articles either called Moriarty's actions a crime
or alleged that she also directed that her son's candidacy be filed
on March 29, even though he was not present. Those articles failed
by 62-88, 52-88 and 57-85.
Rep. Gary Witt, D-Platte City, chairman of the special
impeachment committee, said the House need not apologize for its
decision. "We are not ruining (Moriarty's) life," Witt said. "Judi
Moriarty ruined her life when she ordered these signatures to be
placed on this document. Judi Moriarty did not do her job under the
constitution of Missouri."
Summarizing the evidence from more than a dozen witnesses, Witt
said: "If Judi Moriarty is telling the truth, then almost everyone
else has to be lying."
`A Paper Shuffle'
Moriarty said she did not get a fair hearing from the House
committee. She contended that Witt "believed I should be impeached
before he heard any testimony."
She called the problems with her son's filing "a paper shuffle"
and asked about the House members: "Have any of them ever signed
something a day later?"
Some legislators agreed, saying Moriarty was being punished for
a minor infraction. …