Exclusive: New Akin ad hits ‘Corrupt Claire’ for $40 million in government subsidies received by husband’s businesses

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Missouri Senate hopeful Todd Akin has released a new advertisement calling Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill “corrupt,” citing the $40 million in government subsidies that businesses affiliated with McCaskill’s husband received during the senator’s first five years in office.

On Tuesday, the Associated Press broke the story that at least one-third of the “affordable housing” businesses owned by McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepherd, had been recipients of government subsidies. According to the AP’s analysis, businesses affiliated with Shepherd received $39 million from either the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service or the Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2007 through 2011.

McCaskill voted for some of the bills that funded those government subsidies, but against others, leading the AP to conclude that there was “no evidence that McCaskill personally routed money to her husband’s businesses.”

Akin told the AP that the subsidies constituted “a conflict of interest and a breach of trust with the citizens of our state.”

The new ad, obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller, paints McCaskill as a corrupt Washington insider who used her position for personal gain.

“It’s a corrupt Washington game, and Claire McCaskill plays it, getting rich off government,” says a narrator, as images in a color scheme of black, white and red flash across the screen, and ominous noises rumble in the background. “McCaskill cut funding for education and veterans, but partnerships owned by McCaskill’s family received over a million dollars in stimulus spending.”

“Now a new scandal: McCaskill’s family pocketed $40 million in subsidies. $40 million — of our money,” the narrator goes on.

“Corrupt Claire,” the narrator says. “The moment her hand came off the Bible, it went into our pockets.”

The ad will begin running statewide on Thursday afternoon. The Akin campaign would not discuss the size of the buy, but National Journal Hotline reported Tuesday that the campaign had made a $56,000 buy to reserve air time from Oct. 9 through Oct. 14.

“As we indicated after the AP story broke the other day, we felt that every voter in Missouri deserves to know that Claire McCaskill has been the beneficiary of taxpayer money to the tune of $40 million,” said Akin spokesman Rick Tyler, adding that the news was “particularly disturbing when one out of six Missourians is out of work.”

“Voters, before they go to the polls, deserve to know that,” Tyler added, saying the ad was designed to “inform” and “educate” people on that issue.

A Democratic source was dismissive that an ad buy of only $56,000 would be able to accomplish that goal.

“When they’re buying ads at 56,000 bucks a week, that’s going to be hard to break through,” the source said.

The McCaskill campaign has contended that Akin is misrepresenting the situation, noting to the AP that McCaskill’s voting record reveals no intention to funnel money to her husband’s businesses.

The campaign has also stated that Shepherd’s investments in the businesses were made before McCaskill took office as a senator, as were most of the subsidy contracts.

“It’s bad enough that Todd Akin would attack Claire’s family — it’s worse that he is now basing his entire campaign on a lie,” McCaskill spokesperson Caitlin Legacki said. “This latest attack has been proven false, and he knows it.”

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Alexis Levinson