Claire McCaskill | St. Louis Public Radio

Claire McCaskill

Senator McCaskill's Flickr

The Pentagon estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in the military last year. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced new legislation Thursday in response.

There have also been several high profile cases of a member of the military being convicted of sexual assault by a jury, only to have it overturned by a superior officer. McCaskill’s hopes her bill would change that.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Missouri’s senators may not agree on many national issues, but U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s new bill that aims to deter sexual violence in the military picked up a GOP leadership co-sponsor on Thursday when U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt signed on.

The "Better Enforcement for Sexual Assault Free Environments" (BE SAFE) Act, announced earlier in the day by McCaskill, D-Mo., and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is one of several bills in Congress that take different approaches to the problem.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - WASHINGTON – On opposite sides of Capitol Hill on a busy Wednesday, two witnesses ruffled some feathers when they invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - WASHINGTON – After Carol Houck’s two daughters were killed in a crash while driving a rental car subject to a safety recall, the California woman started a campaign to convince rental firms to "ground" such vehicles until they are repaired. 

It took years for Houck, consumer groups and sympathetic lawmakers to get the big rental companies — Clayton-based Enterprise Holdings Inc., Hertz Corp., Avis/Budget and Dollar/Thrifty — to agree to a voluntary pledge last fall not to rent recalled vehicles until manufacturer-defined flaws are fixed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With congressional probes of the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi likely to remain in the spotlight, both allies and critics of President Barack Obama are predicting that fallout from the revelations could endanger key parts of his second-term agenda.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With both the Army and Air Force rocked by sexual violence charges against personnel tasked with preventing sexual assaults, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill wants to mandate strict new criteria for officers in such jobs.

“When you have two incidents in two different branches of the military within 30 days of each other, then you realize that you need to scrub what’s going on and start over – recertify, retrain and re-qualify all the people that are doing these jobs,” McCaskill said.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Note: Next week, we will be having a live recording of the podcast to wrap-up the legislative session, and to take questions from listeners. If you're interested in attending, you can find more information about the event here.

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

Last week, the IRS apologized for targeting conservative groups in audits for tax exempt status. In response, Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, is calling for high-ranking officials to be fired.   

501(c)(4)s are tax exempt organizations that are supposed to be “social welfare” groups. But in reality, many are Political Action Committees that do not have to disclose donors. A couple of prominent examples are Americans For Prosperity and Crossroads GPS on the conservative end, and Priorities USA on the liberal side.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Are government agencies trying to suppress or soften reports of waste and corruption in how billions of taxpayer dollars are spent on projects in Afghanistan?

That’s the assertion of the top U.S. auditor for Afghanistan reconstruction. And U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill – who pressured the White House to force out one of his predecessors for being too lax in his audits – is vowing to probe the new allegations.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With the Pentagon reporting a sharp increase in sexual assaults and the Air Force officer in charge of preventing such crimes charged with sexual battery, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is stepping up her efforts to try to toughen prosecution and alter laws to deter such crimes.

“I am confident there will be changes in how rape and sexual assault cases are handled in the military [included] in this year’s national defense authorization bill,” McCaskill, D-Mo., said in an interview Wednesday.

Screenshot from a Senate stream of the hearing.

Millions of consumers have an error on their credit report. In response, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri held a hearing Tuesday on the consumer report industry.

One out of every five consumers has an error on at least one of their major credit reports, according to a study released a few months ago by the Federal Trade Commission. Those errors can cause consumers to pay more or be denied credit or housing.

McCaskill, who recently became chairman of the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, called the system “kafkaesque.”

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says officials are considering the best response to evidence that the embattled Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, may have used chemical weapons against his own people.   

First, she said officials are exploring humanitarian options to help the King of Jordan, Abdullah II bin al-Hussein, deal with a flood of refugees crossing his border with Syria, which could uproot the regime of the valued U.S. ally. 

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has halted the nomination of an Air Force lieutenant general who's been tapped to be the vice chairman of U.S. Space Command.

McCaskill said in a statement on Thursday that she wants more information about Lt. Gen. Susan Helms' decision last year to overturn a jury conviction in a sexual assault trial. 

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo) is one of many co-sponsors of a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes for online purchases.

Under current law, states can only require stores to collect sales taxes if the store has a physical presence in the state.

As NPR's Planet Money puts it:

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – A Chesterfield physician is deluged by faxes from companies claiming falsely that her patients had requested medical equipment. An elderly Missouri woman gets three or four calls a day from marketing firms trying to convince her to ask her doctor for equipment she doesn’t need or want.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Following her own come-from-behind victory, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill cites her success as she seeks to aid a fellow Democrat in the nationally watched special election May 7 for a U.S. House seat in South Carolina between former Gov. Mark Sanford, a Republican, and Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert.

In an e-mail fundraising blitz this morning, McCaskill, D-Mo., minces no words in her jabs at Sanford:

“He was all over the news a few years back after secretly abandoning his post as governor of South Carolina and using tax dollars to visit his mistress in Argentina,” McCaskill wrote. “All the while, his staff used the excuse that the governor's absence was just due to him ‘hiking the Appalachian trail.’

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – With speeches, ads and new vote ratings, advocates of new laws to stem gun violence are trying to turn up the pressure this week on GOP lawmakers who are trying to block action on gun control.

On Tuesday, Mayors Against Illegal Guns – a group backed by funding from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg – put congressional offices on notice that it would start issuing a “scorecard, assigning members a letter grade on their gun policy records.”

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

On this week's episode: We discuss Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill's tumblr announcement, Proposition P, and the nonexistent St. Louis mayoral race.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Gov. Jay Nixon brushed off questions yesterday about gay marriage, an issue  now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Nixon, a Democrat, did express support for adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s anti-discrimination statutes. That's become an increasingly visible priority among gay rights groups and their allies.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: On the eve of the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on gay marriage, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., used old and new media Sunday to explain why she now supports marriage equality.

Starting off with a quote from the Bible (old media), McCaskill laid out her stance via Tumblr (new media).

Courtesy CityArchRiver

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel joins the St. Louis Beacon’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum to talk about the week’s politics.

On this week's episode: We discuss the conservatives on both sides of Prop. P, the court rulings while the Missouri legislature is on vacation, and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill's new book.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – Senators call it the “vote-a-rama,” a rapid-fire series of votes on dozens of amendments to the budget resolutions that may or may not have anything to do with the government’s budget.

That’s what was happening late Thursday, Friday and possibly into Saturday’s wee hours as senators tried to finish the budget so they could leave town for their spring “work period.” More than 400 potential amendments were filed, but Senate leaders hoped to pare down the actual number of votes to 30 or so.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – For Mayor Jo Anne Smiley of Clarksville, Mo., clean water is key, given that the Mississippi River provides drinking water to 18 million Americans.

For Alton, Ill., Mayor Tom Hoechst, the emphasis is on efforts to help farmers to prevent erosion that leads to sediment buildups that require river dredging. And, of course, the need for more federal investment in river locks and dams.

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she will take a cut in pay as a show of solidarity with those federal workers who face furloughs due to the sequester.

McCaskill and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida have proposed a bill that would reduce congressional salaries once the furloughs begin. McCaskill says she wants to hold lawmakers accountable for not coming up with an alternative to the sequester as a means of cutting federal spending.

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

As many as 19,000 service members are sexually assaulted each year. A small fraction of those cases -- around 2,500 a year --  are actually reported, and a much smaller fraction are prosecuted.

The Senate Armed Services held a hearing on sexual assaults in the military, following a high profile case in which Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was convicted by a military jury of "abusive sexual contact." After the trial and conviction, a Lieutenant General dismissed the charges, without having to provide an explanation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – As victims of sexual assault in the military told their stories to a Senate panel on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and other senators called for reforms in military procedures to help stop widespread abuses.

“The focus of our efforts should be on effective prosecution,” said McCaskill, D-Mo. “There’s no reason a general who’s never heard the testimony of factual witnesses should be able to wipe out a verdict with the stroke of a pen.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: “If you think we’re going to spend a billion dollars of our money over there, you are sadly mistaken.” – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, 2003.

WASHINGTON – Ten years ago this month, the U.S. government embarked on a war to topple the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. That conflict and the ensuing occupation ended up costing American taxpayers, by some estimates, about $800 billion.

(via Senator McCaskill's Flickr)

A U.S. Senate committee led by Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill is looking into grants made by the federal Department of Energy.  McCaskill says she has concerns about the agency's ability to oversee grants after recent reports that a grant intended for the manufacture of electric car batteries was used by a Michigan company to pay idle workers.

(Senator McCaskill's Flickr Account)

After receiving a tepid response from the FAA on the prospect of changing rules to allow electronic devices like iPads and Kindles to be used throughout a flight, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced that she is beginning to craft legislation instead.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – After nearly three months of debate following the mass shooting of 20 first graders at a Connecticut school, Congress on Thursday began the legislative process of determining which initiatives are politically feasible in the effort to deter gun violence.

At a markup session of the Senate Judiciary Committee, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and other senators discussed separate bills that would: ban assault weapons; require criminal and mental-health background checks of all gun buyers; crack down on illegal gun trafficking; and provide help to bolster school security.

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