Under fire after admitting to billing taxpayers for trips taken on private planes owned by her husband's company, Sen. Claire McCaskill admitted today she owes $300,000 in property taxes on those planes:
McCaskill said she'd pay the bill immediately and has told her husband to "sell the damn plane."
"I will never set foot on the plane again," McCaskill said.
McCaskill, a first-term Missouri Democrat, narrowly defeated incumbent GOP Sen. Jim Talent in 2006, and she faced an already uphill re-election fight next year. Democrats control 53 seats in the Senate, and with slew of retirements, McCaskill's problems cast yet more uncertainty on the party's efforts to retain its thin majority.
The airplane foul-up has handed Republicans a tailor-made issue to attack the image that McCaskill has so carefully built as an opponent of government excess and secrecy.
McCaskill has already had to face questions about why she used the plane for a political trip that her office mistakenly billed to the taxpayers. Using public funds for political travel is prohibited by Senate rules.