Sen. Claire McCaskill’s airplane embarrassment falls into the category of “what was he or she thinking?” If you’ve missed her latest faux pas, allow me to fill you in. The first-term Democratic senator from Missouri (which seems to flip-flop effortlessly from Democratic to Republican) has likely cost herself re-election.
McCaskill charged federal taxpayers $88,000 for campaign travel on a private jet owned, as it turned out, by her husband/businessman Joseph Shepard and other investors.
While not illegal, that’s an unseemly amount for a politician to spend on a private jet. It’s all the more so if one’s spouse and his business partners benefit from those taxpayers’ dollars — and it’s especially ill-timed, considering McCaskill’s constituents, largely blue collar, are suffering through a lagging economic recovery.
But misuse of taxpayers funds was just one of two self-created problems for McCaskill. The jet’s owners, it turns out, were four years in arrears on paying local property taxes — to the tune of $287,000. McCaskill hastily reimbursed both accounts and told reporters, according to the Hill congressional newspaper, “I’m disappointed in myself that this mistake was made, but I have done an awful lot on accountability and transparency.”
McCaskill was referring to the fact that she campaigned on “accountability and transparency” as former state auditor and narrowly won election on a promise to voters that she would act reliably and responsibly in her financial dealings.
McCaskill is hardly the only member of Congress to commit stupidity. As Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
McCaskill is just the most recent in a long line of members whose actions make normal people wonder, “What was she or he thinking?” Just last month, Rep. Chris Lee, R-N.Y., abruptly resigned after posting a photo on Craigslist.org of himself admiring his own shirtless torso. Lee, who is married, did so while trying to capture the attention of a woman who had posted a personal ad. What was he thinking?
The list of Congressional personal and financial scandals goes on and on.
— Scripps Howard News Service