Wednesday, October 10, 2012

#MOSen: Conference Call about $40 Million in Taxpayer Money to Claire McCaskill's Husband's Businesses

Todd Akin's campaign held a conference call with reporters about the $40 million in taxpayer money that McCaskill's husband's businesses have received. Rick Tyler spoke on behalf of the campaign and took several questions from reporters. The entire call is in the video above.

In 2006, the Missouri Republican Party filed an ethics complaint against McCaskill about the complex web of businesses that Joseph Shepard, McCaskill's husband, runs. I've made that complaint and its supporting documentation available on Scribd.

The complexity of Shepard's business empire obfuscates Shepard's business interests. Given that we now know that millions of dollars of tax payer money is fueling some of those interests, it's not surprising that the Akin campaign has asked McCaskill to release both her and her husband's tax returns.

In 2006, McCaskill was criticized in part for her husband's stake in a Bermuda-based re-insurance company, The Rural Housing Re-Insurance Co. of America Ltd. A July 10th, 2006, Kansas City Star article noted [full article available on Scribd]:

Most of Shepard's assets are real estate partnerships dotted about the United States, but one holding the committee asked about stands out: The Rural Housing Re-Insurance Co. of America Ltd., based in Hamilton, Bermuda. McCaskill reported the company has a value of between $250,001 and $500,000, but produces less than $201 in income. 
Bermuda has strict secrecy laws, no tax on dividends or corporate income and few disclosure requirements, making it a favored place for the wealthy to put money. 
Marsh wrote in an e-mail that Shepard owns less than 6 percent of the company, and that despite its high value, "the investment has never returned a dividend in the 20 years it has been in business." 
"That doesn't pass the smell test," scoffed [Republican strategist Lloyd] Smith. "You can't have an investment of that magnitude without getting more than a couple of hundred bucks from it. That doesn't ring true with most voters."

Based on her personal financial disclosures, McCaskill's husband appears to have sold his interest in that off-shore financial institution, but where did that quarter- to half-million investment go?

The questions keep coming. As I asked earlier this week, why isn't Capstone Development Group, LLC, listed on Claire McCaskill's financial disclosure? Capstone is one of several businesses seemingly associated with Shepard and yet it doesn't appear on McCaskill's financial disclosure. The 2006 ethics complaint linked above mentions Capstone as well as several other companies.

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