Transition of power begins at Missouri Attorney General's Office

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- "This time is really for Attorney General to-be Schmitt, who will take the reins here in just a few weeks," said Missouri Attorney General and U.S. Senator-Elect Josh Hawley.

Hawley was joined by staff members from his office and the State Treasurer's office to begin Eric Schmitt's transition to Attorney General,

Key staff members briefed the incoming Attorney General, who was appointed by Governor Mike Parson in November to replace Hawley, on 20 pieces of litigation, initiatives, and cases the Attorney General's Office is currently involved in.

"At any given time, the number of lawsuits the state of Missouri is facing brings constitutional challenges to various statutes almost too numerous to mention," said Missouri Solicitor General John Sauer.

Of those 20 cases incoming Attorney General Schmitt was briefed on include the lawsuit against three major opioid manufacturers, and an investigation into Backpage.com to determine whether the website was facilitating and promoting human trafficking.

The transition team also discussed litigation surrounding the Branson Duck Boat tragedy, as well as an investigation into Clergy Abuse, where all four Catholic dioceses in the state agreed to an independent review by the AG's office.

"At the conclusion of that investigation we will release a report on those findings," said Daniel Hartman, Chief of Staff for the Attorney General's Office.

One big case not in the packet handed to reporters, or discussed in the open session of the transition meeting was the lawsuit Hawley joined out of Texas, challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

That lawsuit was a major part of Hawley's senate bid to defeat incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill.

The case has been heard and is awaiting a judge's ruling.

"Until we're fully briefed on all these pending matters, it would be inappropriate to comment right now," Schmitt told reporters.

Also not included in the packet were any of the investigations into former Governor Eric Greitens - including the unauthorized use of a donor list from his charity, The Mission Continues.

"Those investigations are still active and ongoing and we will offer you an update when we have one," Hawley said.

He did not give any information regarding a time table for those investigations to be completed.

Schmitt said he and his transition team is accepting resumes to hire staff for his new office.

"We'll be interviewing some folks in this office, but we anticipate that by and large, a lot of the great people who are working here today will be working here in January," Schmitt said.

Schmitt will take over the Attorney General's Office on January 3rd, the same day Hawley is sworn in as a U.S. Senator.

There's no word yet from Governor Mike Parson on who will take over the State Treasurer's Office.