Businesses affiliated with the husband of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill have received almost $40 million of federal subsidies for low-income housing developments during her first five years in office.
McCaskill's Republican challenger, Todd Akin, claims the payments represent a "conflict of interest and a breach of trust" with voters. The Democratic senator's campaign says that is "flat-out wrong."
McCaskill's financial reports show her husband, Joseph Shepard, earned between $400,000 and $2.6 million in income from the businesses that received federal payments from 2007 through 2011.
McCaskill voted for some, but not all, of the bills that funded the federal housing and agriculture departments, which provide the housing subsidies. McCaskill's campaign says many of those housing contracts existed before McCaskill was elected in 2006, or before Shepard invested in them.
In a TV ad, Akin alleges McCaskill "got rich" off the stimulus. But by any account, McCaskill was already rich before she became a senator. In 2006, McCaskill's net worth was in the ballpark of $23 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In an expanded article on the U.S. News website, the Associated Press says there is no evidence McCaskill personally routed the money to her husband's businesses.
The AP reviewed five years' worth of federal personal financial disclosure statements filed by McCaskill, which list more than 300 "affordable housing" businesses in which her husband, Joseph Shepard, had at least a partial ownership during the time she has been in office. At least one-third of those businesses also appear to be listed as recipients of federal payments in an online government database that tracks spending.
The firms affiliated with Shepard appear to have received about $39 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service or the Department of Housing and Urban Development between 2007 — when McCaskill took office — and the end of 2011. According to McCaskill's financial reports, Shepard earned an income of between about $400,000 and $2.6 million from those businesses in the years in which they received government payments.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel
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