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McCaskill pays nearly $320,000 for back taxes

By   /   March 28, 2011  /   No Comments

While political accusations continue to fly back and forth, Sen. Claire McCaskill quietly paid nearly $320,000 worth of back taxes, interest, penalties and fees for an airplane she failed to pay taxes on for four years.

Click for audio of press conference from Sen. Claire McCaskill providing details about her property taxes

The tax bill owed by the Democratic senator from Missouri is listed online as being paid on Friday by the St. Louis County Department of Revenue.

When it was checked on Friday by Missouri Watchdog, $32,257 was listed as outstanding.

Last week Monday, McCaskill said she would pay $287,283 when she revealed during a press conference that she failed to pay taxes on the plane.

During the conference call, McCaskill also mentioned she would have to pay interest and penalties as well.

The county received the first four checks — one for each delinquent year — totaling $287,283 on Wednesday. At the time, McCaskill’s office was waiting to receive the bill for the full amount owed.

The Missouri Republican Party checked with the collector’s office last Tuesday and scanned a copy of the bill, which provides a break down of the amounts of taxes, interest, and penalties owed — totaling $319.541.

The Missouri GOP then called for an investigation and filed a supplemental ethics complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee Wednesday, asking the committee to use its subpoena power to force McCaskill to release her tax documents. “Release the damn records,” said Lloyd Smith, executive director, last Tuesday.

After revealing the unpaid taxes — and accepting blame for what she called a mistake — McCaskill said last Monday she will not set foot in the plane again. “I have convinced my husband to sell the damn plane,” she said.

A spokesperson for McCaskill’s office told Missouri Watchdog last week that the senator has already released her personal financial disclosure documents, which have far more detailed information than her tax returns.

The political turbulence started earlier this month when the online news site Politico first reported a story about McCaskill flying on her airplane and billing taxpayers. McCaskill then acknowledged one flight was for “purely political travel” and refunded all of the taxpayer money she received from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

The Missouri GOP filed its original ethics complaint earlier this month, accusing the senator of “drawing personal profits” from a company owned by her and her husband for plane rentals, violating Senate Rule 37.

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missouriwatchdog.org, (314) 482-7944

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Brian formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.