WASHINGTON — Sen. Claire McCaskill reported last week that her re-election drive so far has been prosperous.
But the latest campaign expense report from the Missouri Democrat also shows that she has had to file numerous amendments to her previous reports to correct earlier mistakes.
It’s possible that she could face penalties from the Federal Election Commission, and Republicans were quick to criticize the amendments.
“Claire McCaskill promised Missourians they had seen the last of her ethics problems after she cheated on her taxes and improperly billed taxpayers for campaign travel on her private plane, but now she’s changing her story yet again,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Chris Bond.
But Caitlin Legacki, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party, called the changes very routine.
“There’s no doubt the political attack machines will make it into something it is not. At this point, Claire could sneeze wrong and the national Republicans would come after her for it,” Legacki said.
The mistakes are the result of two developments, according to McCaskill’s campaign. One was her use of her family’s private plane, which became a damaging political controversy for McCaskill earlier this year.
Among other problems, she had failed to pay nearly $300,000 in personal property taxes on the aircraft.
McCaskill had been using the plane for official trips and reimbursing the costs from her office account. But some of those trips turned out to be political and ineligible for reimbursement.
McCaskill already has repaid the costs, but she had to amend her earlier campaign expense reports to show the flights as “in-kind” political contributions. The senator had promised in March at the height of the controversy that campaign lawyers would study all the flights to make sure she had adhered to the rules and, if she hadn’t, to make sure she took the proper steps.
The other reason for the flurry of amendments was her decision this year to shut down her 2006 campaign committee and open a new one to help her raise money for the 2012 election.
Combing through the earlier reports revealed some errors in reporting that, having never been reconciled, created a ripple effect of mistakes in subsequent reports, her campaign said.
In all, McCaskill filed 72 newly amended pages to several years of reports.