It takes a lot to stand out in a “swamp” full of self-serving politicians who say one thing and do another, lining their pockets in the process, but somehow, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill never ceases to amaze.
After a lengthy career as a Missouri state politician, including a failed 2004 bid for governor, McCaskill won election to the senate in 2006. Her only tangible accomplishments seem to be her support of Obama, including her role as one of the deciding votes for the failure that is Obamacare. Otherwise, her tenure has been littered with scandals and cronyism.
In 2011, she was caught billing taxpayers for trips on the private plane she co-owned with her husband and others. Though she hastily paid back the funds due to “the optics of the bigger picture”, she and her husband were subsequently forced to pay $287,000 in unpaid property taxes related to the plane’s ownership. Though she promised she would “sell the damn plane” and actually did sell it, just a year later, her husband purchased another plane. I guess it must have been too tough for the Senator to go back to commercial after experiencing the luxuries of private flight?
Speaking of her husband, Sen. McCaskill funneled $40 million to her husband’s businesses, using her position as Senator to gain approval of Obama stimulus funds that enriched the entire McCaskill family (she was listed as the 18th wealthiest of 535 members of Congress in 2012). You didn’t think those private planes bought themselves, did you? Notably, the her husband Joe Shepard made his fortune as a developer of “affordable housing” that conveniently benefited from McCaskill’s influence. Though they claim to be a family of and for the people, the facts clearly show they are only for themselves.
Her corrupt nature should have made her re-election bid in 2012 unwinnable. However, McCaskill cleverly supported Todd Akin over John Brunner in the Republican primary, something she readily admitted in an op-ed for Politico, which led to Akin’s victory in the primary. She allegedly did so in violation of federal campaign finance law, which is something she claims to champion reform of as Senator. So much for honest elections, right?
She did all of this because she knew he was a weak candidate, too closely tied to religion and the Tea Party. Even though he was a poor choice, he was still polling even with McCaskill, ostensibly because she is so corrupt. However, it didn’t take long for him to slip up, and his comments about “legitimate rape” ultimately sunk not just his candidacy, but his entire political career, and he went on to not only lose the election, but his subsequent re-election campaign for Congress.
Perhaps the only thing Akin did correctly was his notation of McCaskill’s profiteering from Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, as millions in stimulus funds were paid to partnerships owned by McCaskill’s family – just another notch in her very corrupt belt.
And unsurprisingly, like so many other politicians I have mentioned, McCaskill not only uses her position to trade on insider information, she is duplicitous in saying that she wants to do away with Congressional insider trading. Though there was no recorded vote on the bill gutting the STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act signed just months earlier, I’m inclined to believe she voted for it, since the bill was introduced by fellow Democratic Senator Harry Reid, a notorious insider trader and crooked politician in his own right. Why would she vote against stopping the racket that had made her rich in the first place?
Ok, so now that we’re filled in on McCaskill’s past… why am I all of a sudden bringing it up? Simple… because of her recent commentary on “fake news”, Russia, and Trump’s cabinet.
On Sunday, McCaskill was reported as supporting a probe of Russian influence in the election, implying that they helped Trump win, because he would do their bidding willingly. Notably, when describing Trump in May, she stated that “This guy has nothing driving him except narcissism.”
So the same McCaskill that in May was claiming that Trump was too narcissistic and self-obsessed to be a president for the people, is now claiming that he is actually a willing puppet of a foreign regime. Try to process that flip-flop in your head for a second.
McCaskill continued on, noting that Trump has “a three ‘G’ cabinet” of “Goldman, generals and gazillionaires”. I think it is quite ironic that she is complaining of wealth and cronyism within Trump’s cabinet, given the increase in her net worth during her tenure as Senator as well as her constant travel via private plane. No matter what your thoughts on Trump’s cabinet appointees are, at least they made their fortune in private business, instead of making a fortune using public office like McCaskill has.
For the record, I’m not suggesting that I’m entirely happy with Trump’s appointments for cabinet. With the exception of the excellent ex-military he’s chosen to line his staff, Trump’s appointees have almost entirely been business moguls. As Nomi Prins suggests, it is worth wondering whether or not Trump is ushering in a new era of corruption, after winning election with the promise of “draining the swamp” and ridding DC of its foul elements.
Trump’s version of a political and financial establishment, just forming, will be bound together by certain behavioral patterns born of relationships among those of similar status, background, social position, legacy connections, and an assumed allegiance to a dogma of self-aggrandizement that overshadows everything else. In the realm of politico-financial power and in Trump’s experience and ideology, the one with the most toys always wins. So it’s hardly a surprise that his money- and power-centric cabinet won’t be focused on public service or patriotism or civic duty, but on the consolidation of corporate and private gain at the expense of the citizenry.
It’s already obvious that, to Trump, “draining the swamp” means filling it with new layers of golden sludge, similar in color to the decorations that adorn buildings with his name, including the new Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House where foreign diplomats are already flocking to curry favor and even the toilet paper holders in the lobby bathrooms are faux-gold-plated.
However, I’m optimistic that Trump will actually change the way our country is run, and for the better. When I stated my reasons for voting for Trump, I noted that unlike Hillary Clinton, he was not supported by globalists like Soros, Buffett, and Bloomberg. I still think he is politically incorrect, doesn’t care about the social issues, and is not a warmonger looking to bomb every third-world dictatorship out of existence without regard for what might fill the power vacuum.
And, I still think he will do away with Obamacare, which corrupt politicians like Senator Claire McCaskill pushed through using dubious tricks, including “budget reconciliation”. Even after his cabinet appointments, Trump still represents the polar opposite of our corrupt, dysfunctional political system. Senator McCaskill is one of many poster children for hypocrisy, self-contradiction, and corruption, and has used her office to enrich herself and her already-wealthy family.
The election to replace her in 2018 can’t come soon enough, and I’m certain that this time around, she will be defeated by a worthy opponent that she will not be able to support through a primary. In the meantime, we all have a duty to call out duplicitous politicians like her every chance we get. Showing the world their true nature will not only sweep them out of DC, it will force them to backtrack on their corrupt actions, as McCaskill so notably did with her private plane.
Maybe if enough people see this article, McCaskill will also be guilted into selling the newer plane she bought, like she was with the older one she billed the taxpayers for.