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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — An emotional apology from Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill today, as she reveals failing to pay $287,000 in personal property taxes on her airplane.
The money has now been repaid, McCaskill says, and she is vowing to pay any penalities or late fees.
McCaskill says she launched a review of all her personal records on the plane, following recent stories showing she had billed taxpayers for at least one political flight to Hannibal.
Her discovery — that the law requires her to pay personal property taxes in Missouri on the plane, because it is hangered in St. Louis county.
Tallying her back taxes, McCaskill said she had failed to pay some $72,000 in 2007, $74,000 in 2008, $69,000 in 2009 and $70,000 in 2010.
“There are people I could blame for this, McCaskill says, “But I know better. As an auditor, I know that I should’ve checked for myself. I take full responsibility for the mistake.”
Her review also led to the discovery that in addition to the flight to the Democratic “Hannibal Days” event, she also billed taxpayers for a trip to Kansas City that mixed official business with a stopover at the Democratic “Truman Days” event, and a subsequent fundraiser in Kansas City.
The Senator says she’s checking to make sure that trip was properly filed on campaign disclosure reports.
One bright spot of what was a lump-in-the-throat teleconference, McCaskill announced she had properly paid state sales tax on the plane — $38,000 over 55 months. That, she says, shows there was no intention to “dodge taxes” on the plane.
Before today’s revelations, McCaskill had earlier refunded $88,000 to the U-S Treasury to cover all her taxpayer-funded flights on the plane. Her future travel plans may include flying commercial, because she says the problems caused by the private plane are “not worth the bother.”
“I have convinced my husband to sell the damned plane,” McCaskill said, “He has hired a broker. And I can tell you, I will not be setting foot on the plane every again.”
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