McCaskill repays nearly $300,000 for unpaid taxes on plane
March 21st, 2011
06:37 PM ET
12 years ago

McCaskill repays nearly $300,000 for unpaid taxes on plane

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, acknowledged Monday that she failed to pay nearly $300,000 in personal property taxes owed over the last four years for the partial ownership she and her husband have in a private plane.

McCaskill, a vocal supporter of reform and transparency in the Senate, described the failure to pay taxes as unintentional and said she will sell the plane.

"I take full responsibility for the mistake," she said in a conference call with reporters.

She said she is "disappointed in myself" and "sick to my stomach" over the matter.

The first-term senator, who is likely to face one of the toughest re-election battles in the country next year, wrote a check to the St. Louis County Tax Assessor Tuesday for $287,283.41. McCaskill said she and her husband did pay sales taxes on the Pilatus Turboprop, which they own with other investors, and are prepared to pay more to the county if it is determined additional taxes and fees are owed.

Republican campaign officials in Washington seized on her lapse.

"Can Missouri voters even believe anything Senator McCaskill says anymore?" Rob Jesmer, of the National Republican Senatorial Committee asked in a statement. "Now, millionaire Claire McCaskill wants to simply write yet another big check and hope people won't ask anymore questions."

McCaskill's acknowledgement comes shortly after Politico reported that she used tens of thousand of dollars from her Senate office budget to cover the costs of chartering the plane for Senate business. After the story broke, McCaskill repaid the U.S. Treasury $88,000 for 89 flights.

McCaskill said the disclosure had created a "perception" problem and the "appearance of impropriety." She sought a full accounting of her use of the plane which revealed the failure to pay taxes.

In a conference call with reporters, McCaskill, a former Missouri state auditor, said the review also found that after a three-day trip through Missouri in May 2007, her Senate office improperly used taxpayer dollars for flights to two political events. She said Tuesday the government had already been repaid for that travel as part of the $88,000 reimbursement.

McCaskill said the plane has "just been more trouble that it's worth."

"I have convinced my husband to sell the damn plane," she said. "He has hired a broker and I can tell you that I will not be setting foot in that damn plane again."

Filed under: Claire McCaskill
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Sandi

    Yeah, that's it Claire, it's the Damn Plane's Fault!

    McCaskill said the plane has "just been more trouble that it's worth." "I have convinced my husband to sell the damn plane," she said. "He has hired a broker and I can tell you that I will not be setting foot in that damn plane again."

    Boy, you liberals sure are doing a great job draining that swamp, aren't you?!?! lol

    March 21, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    So she paid it – move on!

    March 21, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    I tohught Congressional tax returns were amde public? How did this go unnoticed and why doesn't the IRS routinely audit Congressional returns since they are government employees?
    I know anyone can make a mistake, bit why doe sit take so long to catch them at the IRS?

    March 21, 2011 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Honest Abe

    Why is the headline she "repayed". If she never paid the taxes that she owes, it's not repayed it's simply "pays".

    March 21, 2011 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Bill

    Big deal. I'm sure if the Republicans want to jump on mere appearances of impropriety, the Democrats could jump all over actual acts of impropriety by the GOP, and far more serious than a few hundred thousand in late tax payments. How about the moral bankruptcy of people like Ensign, David, etc. who can't seem to practice the same moral values they preach to everyone else?

    March 21, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Albo58

    So a loyal Obamabot AND a tax cheat? While Claire was ignoring her constituency during the health care debate, she was also forgetting to pay a quarter of a $billion in taxes...could happen to anyone!

    March 21, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  7. B. Burton

    So, she's an auditor and didn't know she/they owed those taxes? Always that "other set of rules", isn't there?

    March 21, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I guess if this airplane was parked in her driveway she wouldn't have overlooked paying taxes. I'm a Democrat and I say this woman is lying and I don't like liars.

    March 21, 2011 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. Willy Brown

    I always love how the media keeps this quiet because it's a democrat and till she paid then it’s written like “oh well “ If she was a republican you’d would have branded her as the crook she is but she’s only sorry because she got caught.

    March 21, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  10. Roger

    Very interesting. Once you caught you want forgiveness and while your getting away with it you say nothing. You see democrats want you to pay your fair share of taxes but they are in a different class than the people they fight for. John kerry and the whole Kennedy family were this way too. Cheated all the time. John Kerry just got caught on taxes on his boat too! Shame on these people for cheating the people who voted for them. They want you to stay poor so they can continue to get rich.

    March 21, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Big_D

    Does it seem that even the "socialist liberals" are just rich fat cats too? When do we get representatives that actually represent us? Heck I wouldn’t mind a real socialist or even a real liberal. I have had enough rich fat cats however.

    March 21, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. NC

    claire must clean her plate before she runs for re-election in 2012. Crooked claire will not be re-elected, nor will her inexperienced buddy obama. Silly democrats. The American citizens will vote for a responsible Republican for president in 2012.

    March 21, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Steve, New York City

    Wow – is this the same Senator that was demonizing EVERY SINGLE person who works on Wall Street (regardless of whether they even work in the mortgage market), and who wanted to bankrupt people by taxing their income at 90%?
    This is the same Senator who somehow believes that earning $250,000 in New York, Los Angeles or Boston is the same as earning that same salary in Council Bluffs? Wow! What a hypocrit! I hope that this moment humbles her.

    March 21, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. david

    Just another case of double standards, I guess I can just forget paying my taxes for the next 4 yrs, use the interest and money build up my porfolio and than just say Oh I'm sorry I'm so embarressed I'll pay my taxes now, and as a added bonus you can pay lifetime medical plan and my pension after serving myself as a representive. gotta love our system of crooks in for a penny in for a pound

    March 21, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. Dan

    1984 is alive and well amongst our politicians and the way they view the 'common people' Rangel took the cake. The guy in charge of writing the country's tax laws is a tax cheat himself. I guess we get what we deserve.

    March 21, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. Dean

    Wonder where I would be if I owed $300,000 for taxes I failed to pay???????

    March 21, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. dee

    So it's the "damn planes" fault that she charged her office for the use of her own plane and that she "forgot" to pay the taxes for 4 years. Politicians don't ya just love em, all the while they are telling us to "tighten our belts" . Which more or less means "just suck it up, whatever we do to you". Missouri should make this her first and last term.

    March 21, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. RussH

    This crook as most politicans are needs to pay the taxes first. If she cannot, she needs to be fired or impeached. We have to many politicans out there that think they can get away with it and if caught, citizens will not do anything.

    March 21, 2011 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  19. Crook

    She's just one of many, many crooked Democrats who tried to ruin our country over the past 10 year.s

    March 21, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |