Missouri Republican Rep. Todd Akin said Monday that he thinks his opponent in the Missouri Senate race, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, needs to come clean about allegations that she allowed her husband to cut business deals in the Senate dining room.
The Daily Caller first reported Thursday that Craig Woods — a former employee of McCaskill’s husband, Joseph Shepard — alleged in a 2011 audiotape that Shepard used the U.S. Senate dining room to make deals selling tax credits tied to the federal stimulus bill.
Woods was a longtime high-ranking official in 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. He handled millions of dollars for the companies over the course of more than a decade.
McCaskill and her campaign immediately denied the allegations, claiming Woods is merely an untrustworthy, disgruntled former employee with a criminal record. Woods did plead guilty in the early 1990s in two different cases of felony larceny and spent some time in prison.
The McCaskill campaign also alleged that Woods wasn’t a whistle-blower, even though McCaskill has publicly defended whistle-blowers — including ones with criminal records — on previous occasions.
Akin said the reports are “yet another example of Claire McCaskill using government resources for her personal gain.”
“McCaskill used taxpayer dollars to pay for her private plane while not paying property taxes on it,” Akin said. “McCaskill cut billions in funding for education and veterans from the stimulus, but left in the money that went to her businesses. McCaskill talked about reforming government contracting and eliminating government waste, while her businesses received almost $40 million in taxpayer money. Now we hear allegations that her husband was making business deals in the Senate dining room. McCaskill and Shepard should immediately provide a detailed accounting of all of Shepard’s meetings in the Senate dining room, and what was discussed. If Shepard was making business deals in the Senate dining room, that is a clear abuse of power and privilege.”
“Unfortunately, when it comes to her personal businesses, McCaskill is flip-flopping on her defense of whistle-blowers,” Akin added. “In the past, McCaskill has strongly defended whistle-blowers, even those with criminal histories, as the “first line of defense” against waste, fraud and abuse. We now know that McCaskill will defend whistle-blowers only when they don’t affect her personal wealth. Missouri deserves better.”
According to McCaskill’s campaign, the New York Times had at least some information about the allegations against her husband’s business operation back in June, but decided against running a story. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee suggested on his radio show that the Times’ decision to kill the story is a sign “the media has been a little one-sided.”
“They certainly want to jump on you for something you say, but they’ve been completely unwilling to pursue what should be a pretty big story: [a] sitting United States senator finding a way to use the position to push business toward her husband to the tune of millions of dollars,” Huckabee told Akin on the show.
McCaskill’s responses to the allegations have varied. First, she denied the allegations. Then, she attacked the whistle-blower. Next, she criticized the media covering the story. After that, she accused Akin of instigating the story. Now, though, according to the Associated Press, her latest response is that she thinks these kinds of allegations and questions are just par for the course in an election season.
“It’s October, and I’m running for office, and two things happen: The leaves change, and they unfairly attack my husband,” McCaskill said.