We wrote this morning that the unfolding flap over Sen. Claire McCaskill’s private plane – and the back taxes she owed on it – is a major problem for the Missouri Democrat, who would have faced a difficult 2012 re-election even absent controversy over her use of taxpayer money for political travel.
The story is particularly tough for McCaskill – a former state auditor and self-described watchdog who has styled her work on congressional oversight issues after the Truman Committee. Her previous scrutiny of perpetrators of government waste means that the spotlight is all the hotter when it’s pointed back on her.
More than six years ago, Claire McCaskill was embroiled in another fight over the political use of airplanes -- except in that case, she was raising the issue against her opponent.
During the crescendo of her primary challenge to Gov. Bob Holden in July 2004, then-state auditor McCaskill ran an ad showing an airplane circling around the outline of Missouri, slamming the governor for "taking over 300 taxpayer funded trips on the state airplane.”
And here’s a link to an AP story at the time, in which McCaskill called Holden’s use of the plane to fly to non-political events the “kind of things that make taxpayers raise their eyebrows.”