Diary

Claire McCaskill really steps in it this time

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has reached the highest levels of tax-avoidance hypocrisy.

Let me explain.

This week, Carl Levin introduced a bill, supported by the Obama Administration, to crack down on offshore tax havens, including those in Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda.

One of the bill’s co-sponsors is Claire McCaskill.

Which is funny—given that McCaskill has disclosed partial ownership of a company called Rural Reinsurance Company International, Ltd, based in Hamilton, Bermuda. According to her most recent personal financial disclosure, the asset is valued between $500,001 and $1,000,000.

This arrangement has drawn the attention of ethics watchdogs and the Kansas City Star (subscription required), which published an article that included McCaskill’s tacit admission that her Bermuda-based company was, in fact, a tax shelter:

Furthermore, one of [McCaskill’s husband Joseph] Shepard’s interests–a Bermuda-based reinsurance company–shares attributes with a tax shelter the IRS wants Congress to rein in.

[snip]

Some experts say that if a reinsurance firm does not have employees or offices and does not market its services, its purposes are suspect.

It’s all about avoiding taxes, said Robert McIntyre, director of Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington watchdog group. “That’s the whole point of them. I’ve heard so many excuses for doing it. But why is it in Bermuda? There’s only one reason. Because of taxes.”

“There is absolutely no tax sheltering that is occurring that is not part of a tax code that Senator Talent embraces,” McCaskill said Monday night at a debate in Springfield.

But if the Senate does take up legislation aimed at curtailing such shelters, McCaskill would be in a position to help decide whether one of her husband’s major investments could survive.

After the embarrassing revelations that so many Obama cabinet appointees “forgot” to pay their taxes, it seems that at least one Democrat has intentionally avoided paying hers. We have a frontrunner in the Democrats’ race to the bottom.