Senator “AirClaire” McCaskill – another congressional tax cheat

Being a member of congress is an important job – you’re “serving the public,” after all. In fact, this job is so important, so all-consuming, that it becomes easy to forget the little things – like paying taxes. Just ask Charlie Rangel or “Skipper” Kerry how difficult it is to comply with tax laws (they wrote) – especially when you spend so much effort to avoid them. So it comes as no surprise that yet another congress member has “forgotten” to pay her taxes. This time on a corporate jet owned by one of her husband’s companies. How much did she “forget” to pay? About $287,000 (story here).

In a conference call with reporters, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill just disclosed that she failed to pay $287,000 in property taxes related to her co-ownership of a private aircraft. This scandal comes quickly on the heels of recent revelations that McCaskill improperly billed taxpayers for use of the same private aircraft, for which McCaskill reimbursed the Treasury $88,000:

In a conference call Monday afternoon, McCaskill revealed that after her own review of the plane’s records, she had not paid personal property taxes on the aircraft over the past four years.

“I have discovered that the personal property taxes on the plane have not been paid.  There should have been a reporting to the county of the existence of this plane.   There are people I could blame for this, but I know better. I take full responsibility,” McCaskill said to reporters, after revealing she had conducted her own audit of all 89 flights she had taken.

This was a mistake, It should have been reported in Missouri.  It will be paid in Missouri today,” she said.

McCaskill said she would be sending a check for $287,273 to St. Louis County Monday for the back taxes she owed between 2007 and 2010.

It was a mistake and she could have blamed others but she didn’t. OK Claire, but what about this little detail?

Claire McCaskill registered her plane in Delaware, where no taxes are imposed. Then she moved the plane to Illinois, where she avoided paying taxes before she moved it to Missouri, where she ignored paying her taxes.

Oh yeah, then there’s this minor irritation as well.

Last week, McCaskill reimbursed the Treasury Department more than $88,000 after POLITICO reported she had used taxpayer dollars from her Senate office account to pay for nearly 90 flights on a private charter plane co-owned by McCaskill, her husband and other investors.

The purpose of one of the trips billed to taxpayers – a roundtrip flight between St. Louis and Hannibal in 2007 – was purely political in nature, a violation of Senate ethics rules.

McCaskill said that trip was charged to her office only by “accident.” But the Missouri Republican Party pounced — filing a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee this week.

McCaskill, who now faces an even more treacherous path to reelection in 2012, said the complaint is plainly “more about politics than it is ethics at this point.”

Ah yes, it was an “accident” and now the whole thing is “more about politics.” Let’s see if I got this straight:

  • Husband’s company buys & registers corporate jet in Delaware – no taxes owed.
  • Senator McCaskill (D-MO) uses jet and bills taxpayers – not bad, get the taxpayers to pay you for use of your jet.
  • Ooops – senator gets caught and reimburses taxpayers $88,000 for improper use of jet.
  • Jet ultimately ends up in Missouri where taxes are due but are “forgotten.”
  • Ooops – senator gets caught and reimburses taxpayers $287,000 in forgotten taxes.

Yeah, looks like it’s all politics to me. McCaskill is up for re-election in 2012. The citizens of Missouri deserve better than this.

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