McCaskill's missteps damage her image
Sen. Claire McCaskill, a driving force for rooting out waste and fraud to protect American taxpayers, just tripped on Politics 101: Make darn sure you pay your own taxes correctly.
She apologized this week for failing to pay several years of personal property taxes owed on a private plane.
In her decades of highly effective public service, the former Jackson County prosecutor and Missouri state auditor has always stood up for accountability, for a definitive right and wrong. She’s developed a national reputation for opposing and uncovering corruption.
Amid the criticism, it must be remembered that McCaskill held up her hand and admitted she made a mistake in failing to pay $287,000 in personal property taxes on a family plane and immediately paid up.
From her days of crusading against meth production in Jackson County to her more recent efforts to end billions of dollars of wasted military contracts, McCaskill has always been a positive force in politics.
But this revelation comes on the heels of another embarrassment, that she’d twice mistakenly billed taxpayers for political trips. Even the act of essentially paying herself for legitimate public trips doesn’t pass the sniff test of a smart political decision.
Before these revelations, McCaskill likely faced a difficult 2012 re-election bid. In tough economic times, it would be hoped that the election would be fought on the many pressing issues facing Missouri and the nation.
These missteps make it more likely that we’re facing months of negative campaigning, and that’s not in the best interests of anyone hoping to see Missouri and the nation flourish again.
Two things seem clear after a very bad couple weeks for Missouri’s senior senator. First: Missouri and Kansas City continue to be better off for her decades of service. Second, if we are to continue benefiting from what she does so well, McCaskill has to get to work rebuilding her reputation and the public trust she worked so hard to earn.