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Before here recent “airplane issues” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) was facing an uphill battle for reelection. But her flying problems are getting worse.  Earlier this month, Politico reported that the senator spent nearly $76,000 of taxpayer money to fly a charter plane which she owns with her husband and other investors,  for purely political trips. Its perfectly OK to bill the public for private plane trips made for Senate business, but billing the public for political trips is a definite no-no.

Yesterday McCaskill revealed she would be sending a check for $287,273 to St. Louis County for the back taxes she owed on the plane between 2007 and 2010.
On the conference call, McCaskill said that after she discovered the political trip on the plane she conducted an extensive audit of all the times she used it. That search turned up the fact that she had not paid personal property taxes on the aircraft totaling $287,273. (Not all states charge these taxes, and because planes are not registered with the state or the county, she was never billed.) The senator said she understood that Missourians would be confused about how this happened, but insisted it was an honest mistake. “I’m being held accountable, like I should be,” she said. “I made this mistake.”

Apart from the obvious bulling the taxpayer for trips that were her expense, and not paying taxes McCaskill  staked her reputation on transparency and stamping out government excess, so this looks real bad. She even  made an issue of the use of planes in her unsuccessful bid for Governor in 2004. According to Politico:

During the crescendo of her primary challenge to Gov. Bob Holden in July 2004, then-state auditor McCaskill ran an ad showing an airplane circling around the outline of Missouri, slamming the governor for “taking over 300 taxpayer funded trips on the state airplane.”

When she ran for Senator she urged voters If my walk doesn’t match my talk, shame on me and don’t ever vote for me again.”

It may be time to listen to the Senator’s advice (if you cannot see video below, Click Here)

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