Sen. McCaskill Testy Over Question about her Husband’s ‘Dining Room’ Deals
posted at 6:38 am on October 19, 2012 by Matt Vespa
Incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill got a little testy with Dana Loesch, editor of Breitbart’s Big Journalism, during a press conference after Thursday night’s senate debate where Loesch asked the senator about her husband’s business deals, which involved selling tax credits tied to stimulus money. McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepard, allegedly conducted these deals in the U.S. Senate Dining Room. The Gateway Pundit posted video of the exchange last night.
The Daily Caller’s Matthew Boyle posted the story yesterday where these developments were exposed by “whistle-blower Craig Woods [who is] a longtime high-ranking official within Shepard’s business empire, serving first as chief financial officer and then as vice president and chief underwriter for Missouri Equity Investors LLC and JA Shepard Companies.” DC obtained audio of the senator’s husband cutting deals and Boyle reported that Woods’ “LinkedIn page indicates he left the company in January 2011, a few months before debriefing a Republican operative who made the recording. According to the McCaskill campaign, Woods pled guilty in the 1990s in two different cases of felony larceny and spent some time in prison after that. The campaign also said that Woods lied to McCaskill’s husband about his past on his job application, and submitted a resume detailing “jobs” he held when he was actually in prison.”
Nevertheless, on the tape:
“He [McCaskill’s husband] did four projects — these were rural development deals where he came in and stole from a guy and he did the federal credits and he got Enterprise Bank to invest in those four deals and those have been really iffy,” Woods said on the tape. Woods said those four projects — housing developments — were “all here in Missouri.” He explained how Shepard brokered deals with investors who counted on high returns in the form of federal and state tax credits that came with these projects. In return for the deals, Woods said, the investors gave Shepard cash he could use elsewhere in his business. “The reason these [specific projects] were so attractive to him, the reason he wanted to do them, was they got ARRA funds, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds,” Woods said, referring to how some programs were tied to President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package. Woods said one such project, in Clinton, Missouri, got “$5.5 million in stimulus funds. They didn’t have to borrow a dollar.” Woods said Shepard “bundle[d]” that stimulus-funded project with two other projects that didn’t get stimulus money in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Hannibal, Missouri, and took the tax credits from all three to an investor in “the Baltimore-DC area.” Woods added the the “free cash” from the stimulus-funded project packaged with the other two projects was a more “attractive” tax credit deal for investors than three separate deals in which the tax credits from each project were sold separately.
As to why these business discussion were conducted in the Senate Dining Room, Woods said Shepard “thought that was fantastic…he could take them to the Senate Dining Room and entertain them.”
The McCaskill campaign emailed the DC a statement on the subject saying, “there is absolutely no merit to these claims. It is shocking that Todd Akin would pin the hopes of his campaign on a twice-convicted felon and a proven liar, but I guess Todd Akin is incredibly desperate at this point. This is a despicable new low, especially for Todd Akin, and he should be ashamed of himself.”
However, Akin isn’t desperate. McCaskill isn’t popular. The people of Missouri want change and Akin’s within 2.3 points of Senator McCaskill, on average, despite his serial gaffes – one of which is the infamous “legitimate rape” slip-up.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Ed Morrissey wrote on October 15 that:
A new poll from Wenzel Strategies (via James Hohmann at Politico’s Morning Score) might show a glimmer of that hope, however. The likely-voter survey puts Akin up four points over McCaskill, 48.9/44.7, with 87% of the vote firm. The sample on this poll has a D/R/I of 38/37/25, more Democratic than the 2010 midterm turnout in Missouri of 34/37/28, although not as Democratic as the 2008 turnout model of 40/34/26 that nonetheless gave John McCain a narrow win in the state. However, a couple of points should be kept in mind.
First, this is a poll conducted on behalf of a partisan client, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, and Wenzel does a lot of work for Republicans. We’d be suspicious of PPP polls, so it’s fair to note this. Second, the poll also shows Mitt Romney ahead of Barack Obama by almost 14 points, 54.9/41.1, while the RCP average for MO is Romney +5.2%. The last poll in that series, though, was conducted before the first debate, and it’s entirely possible that the race in Missouri has shifted significantly since. It’s worth noting that Obama’s favorability in the poll is 49.5/49.1, so it’s not as though this has an overwhelming tilt.
However, the plot thickens when Woods alleges that Shepard doesn’t do anything without CLaire’s full knowledge. We shall see how this story plays out, but it certainly isn’t good press, especially since her husband also received $40 million in government funds for low-income housing projects. This egregious feeding from the government trough demonstrates that ‘Potomac Syndrome’ has hit McCaskill hard. It appears that her fiscal hawk credentials crumble when it comes to her husband. As a result, Akin has labeled McCaskill “Corrupt Claire.”