Friday, December 27, 2013

Pilatus PC 12/47E: Company owned by Missouri US Sen. McCaskill's husband purchases airplane


WASHINGTON — Sen. Claire McCaskill has a new private plane at her disposal, and new ethical safeguards to prevent the kind of embarrassing lapses that landed her in political hot water in 2011, her spokesman said today.

John LaBombard, McCaskill’s spokesman, said in an email that the company owned by McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepard, has purchased a new plane -- a $3.45 million Pilatus PC 12/47E that will “primarily be used for his business” and also chartered by others through an independent company. Shepard is a real estate investor.

“Claire may occasionally use the plane, but will always do so at her own expense,” LaBombard said.

McCaskill, D-Mo., and her husband sold their previous aircraft in 2011, after disclosures that the Missouri Democrat had used taxpayer money from her Senate office budget to pay for flights on the plane. McCaskill also revealed that she and her husband had failed to pay more than $300,000 in state property taxes on the plane.

She eventually paid the delinquent taxes and reimbursed the Treasury more than $88,000 for the cost of the flights. Facing a tough re-election contest and ethics charges from the GOP, McCaskill declared that she had convinced her husband to sell the “damn” plane.

“I will never set foot on the plane again,” she told reporters in 2011. She eventually sold that aircraft for $2 million. She won re-election in 2012.

LaBombard said McCaskill has put in place strict rules to make sure there are no lapses with the new plane.

“Safeguards have been implemented to ensure that no taxpayer dollars will ever be used to pay for or reimburse any costs associated with the plane, and that every cost associated with the plane is paid fully and on-time,” he said.

LaBombard said an independent company would manage compliance with tax laws, financial reporting, and any disclosures associated with the plane to ensure “that all payments associated with the plane are paid fully and on time.” He said McCaskill would “never” seek Senate reimbursement for travel on the plane even if she uses it for official Senate work. 

McCaskill's Family Has Purchased Another Private Plane

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