Mayday McCaskill Caught in a Tailspin Over Private Plane

Categories: News, Politics
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Look, I can explain. I was suffering altitude sickness.
A once high-flying Missouri politician plummeted to Earth yesterday. The only question now: Can she survive the wreckage? 

Claire McCaskill's reputation took perhaps its biggest hit in her nearly five years in the U.S. Senate on Monday when she admitted that she hadn't paid personal property taxes on her private aircraft. This from a woman who once investigated tax scofflaws as Missouri's state auditor.

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, McCaskill described her failure to register the plane with the St. Louis County revenue department a "mistake" and said she had sent the county a check for $287,000 in back taxes covering the past four years.

But could it be that McCaskill's gesture only makes her seem more out of touch with the poor and working-class Missourians she represents?

One could make that assumption considering that the county has no idea how much it is actually owed for the plane's back taxes -- which could be far less than the more than quarter-of-a-million dollars McCaskill forked over yesterday.

"If in fact we have overpaid, that is fine," McCaskill told reporters, adding that the amount should also cover interests and fees.

McCaskill can afford to write checks for such staggering amounts because of her marriage to a wealthy real-estate developer, Joe Shepard, who owns the plane through a limited-liability corporation. Yesterday was actually the second time in just a matter of weeks that McCaskill has opened up the checkbook to assuage criticism over the aircraft.

Earlier this month she sent a check for $88,000 to the U.S. Treasury to cover  reimbursements for fuel and operating costs that she'd been billing the government to use the plane on Senate business. Earlier this month, McCaskill's office told Politico.com that her use of the plane was kosher but wanted to repay the money for appearance sake.

But that wasn't necessarily the case. As Politico.com later revealed, McCaskill had also violated Senate ethics rules by billing the government at least once for using the plane for purely political purposes in flying it to a Democratic convention in Hannibal in 2007. 

Yesterday, McCaskill said she'd convinced her husband to "sell the damn plane." She'll now be flying coach.

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13 comments
Patriotson
Patriotson

Democrat's just don't seem to get it. First Rangel then Watkins now McGaskill; Geithner, the list just goes on and on. There is no end to the political corruption of this party as evidenced by their control of congress and the passage of Obamacare; backdoor deals; union pandering; passing law before it is read; socialist ideology in a capitalist free market system.Gitmo should remain open for obvious reasons.

hotdogwaffles
hotdogwaffles

Damn, bitch got some money... can she send me a check for $200,000?

Textster
Textster

I thought she was busy curing Michael J Fox.At least that's what he thought.

7thGuest
7thGuest

FUnny, I read that article twice and still couldn't tell you what party she belongs to. Must be a Tea Party Patriot.

oilfield7550
oilfield7550

Shelley, you are really pathetic. It's voters without a moral compass like you that have allowed corrupt politicians like McCaskill to get elected and re-elected. There are alarming numbers of crooked politicians in both parties. It's up to We the People to toss them all out and replace them with people we have fully vetted before we vote for them.

John
John

I do think I recall that earlier articles indicated that the amount charged Congress for use of the private plane was less than what the charge would be if she flew coach. Therefore...due to the uproar over the use of the private plane, Congress will be charged more. Excellent.

Shelley Powers
Shelley Powers

This is absolutely ludicrous.

McCaskill is wealthy and married to a wealthy man. Well, Senator Blunt has a lot of money and married into money, too. In fact, you'll find most of the Congressional membership is rich--typically only the wealthy can afford to run for higher office.

McCaskill's team made mistakes. First, they charged the tax payers for the one trip (just the one), and then her accountants made a mistake on her taxes. Does anyone seriously believe that she did ANY of this deliberately?

Seriously?

Oh, you mean people in America don't make mistakes on taxes? Oh, you mean Republicans never make mistakes of this nature? Or Republicans never bill the federal government for their own private jets, or other political event travel?

Or take rides on jets owned by wealthy lobbyists and corporate owners, wanting to curry favors? (Yes, Blunt family, I'm talking about you.)

The only really bad mistake McCaskill made was backing down on this one. She should have gone toe to toe with the Republican smear campaign, spit in their faces, and then gone on as usual.

Don't sell the damn plane.

cliffthatcher
cliffthatcher

Claire McCaskill is a DEMOCRAT. That's why you didn't see it in the article. Hadshe been a Republican, that would've been the very first word in the headline. "Republican Senator Claire McCaskill....."

Guest
Guest

Nice try, you partisan hack commentators. Shelley, it's true that lots of people in America fail to pay their taxes. The problem is that those of us who aren't Obama's buddies pay steep fines and/or go to jail, instead of becoming U.S. Senator or Treasury Secretary and getting a slap on the wrist.

Most of Air Claire's charter flights were in-state, and to tiny airports that don't have commercial flights. The alternative would've been driving which is greener (charter flights produce insane amounts of carbon emissions per passenger) and MUCH cheaper than flying, even though admittedly a big pain if you're traveling from one corner of Missouri to the other. The solution: don't schedule meetings on both sides of the state in the same day!!

As far as Air Claire's trips from STL to DC, Politico pointed out that she charged taxpayers $1,182 for a ONE-WAY trip in May 2008, when even a last-minute flight on American would run about $650. I don't ever want to hear the words "fiscally conservative" or "transparency" escape her lips again!!

hector garbanzo
hector garbanzo

You ask: Does anyone seriously believe that she did ANY of this deliberately?

My best guess is that she didn't sit down and plan to screw the state of Missouri and the Federal government out of her fair share of taxes. That said, she probably didn't even bother to think that not paying taxes was screwing taxpayers and the state; she is, after all not a taxpayer, but a tax imposer. Doing this sort of thing just comes naturally to rulers of her ilk. The taxpayers are her enemies and her sheep, to be shorn at her whim, to pay for her everyday life. And if reality ever hits her, she has her flunkies to take the blame, and her benighted enablers, like you for example, to give her cover by claiming that everyone does it. Everyone; like Rangel, Waters, Geithner, Daschle, Kerry, Dellums, Zoe Baird, Kimba Wood. You know. Everybody.

Sooner or later, if enough democrats screw the state out of their fair share of taxes, then we get to claim that everybody does it. Just like everybody gets serviced in the White House, everybody sells US ports to China, everybody hires illegal aliens from China for sub-Cabinet positions, everybody sells seats on Air Force One, coffees with the Pres., sleepovers in the Lincoln Bedroom, and on and on.

"Everybody." That's Arabic for Democrats.

seanoairborne
seanoairborne

Who are all those Republicans you're talking about that did the same or worse than McCaskel?Name names?I want to know?If you can't back up all your liberal bluster,and no libs ever can,then go suck eggs, conehead!

Tapis3223
Tapis3223

I had a comment prepared for "nearsighted" Shelley however I couldn't have put it any better than Hector did.All I can say shelley is don't pay property taxes on you cars, boats, house, whatever and see what happens to you! When it comes to paying personal property taxes on high value toys, the "rich" are the worst offenders. Until 4 years ago, you could get a new registration on them without paying the PP tax so a lot of people overlooked it! Fortunately this should be her last term of office!

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