Politics

Missouri Senate Candidates Spar Over Tax Returns

Hawley is calling on McCaskill to release her husband’s returns

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is running for a third term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Republican Senate nominee Josh Hawley is calling on Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill to release her family’s tax returns, after both released their own returns Wednesday. 

Hawley, the state attorney general, released nearly 60 pages of his and his wife’s tax returns since they file jointly. McCaskill released two pages of her own return (she and her husband file their taxes separately), but Hawley said that wasn’t enough.

“We want people to level with us,” Hawley told reporters on a press call, dropping a reference to Missouri’s nickname, the Show-Me State. “And it is time for Sen. McCaskill to level with the people of this state.”

Hawley went on to accuse McCaskill of profiting from her Senate seat. She is one of the wealthiest members of Congress with a minimum net worth of nearly $27 million, according to Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress project. Much of that wealth stems from her husband’s investments.

Asked to respond to Hawley’s demand that she release her family’s returns, McCaskill’s campaign criticized him for declining to call on President Donald Trump to release his own tax returns. Trump bucked decades of precedent by refusing to do so during the 2016 campaign.

“Only the most hypocritical politician would refuse to criticize the President for not releasing his tax returns and then complain about Claire’s husband,” McCaskill campaign spokesman Eric Mee said.

“Claire has filed separately from her husband since they met and will not be releasing his return. Her family’s finances are fully and properly disclosed on her 61-page personal financial disclosure,” Mee said, referring to her disclosure filed with the Senate, which details her various assets and liabilities in ranges of values rather than exact figures.

Hawley was asked multiple times Wednesday whether Trump should release his own tax returns, but he declined to answer the questions.

“The last I looked the president wasn’t running in this Senate race,” the GOP candidate said. “That election’s over. … [Trump] ran, he won. The people of this state voted for him by 20 points.”

“There are serious questions about how she’s profited from her seat in the U.S. Senate,” he added.

Hawley pointed to news reports, including one from McClatchy, that businesses tied to McCaskill’s husband received more than $131 million in federal subsidies, mostly for housing projects. McClatchy reported there was “no evidence that McCaskill played any part in directing federal funds to businesses affiliated with her husband.”

The Kansas City Star also reported that McCaskill’s husband had invested in a hedge fund linked to the Cayman Islands. McCaskill’s campaign told the newspaper that her husband pays taxes on his investments, but declined to release his tax returns to the outlet. 

Hawley also raised questions about who was paying taxes for the use of a private plane. McCaskill’s use of a private plane was an issue her 2012 race, and it was revealed in 2011 that she had failed to pay property taxes on the plane.

McCaskill released two pages of her tax returns on Wednesday, showing that she received a $174,000 salary from the Senate, and had an adjusted gross income of $266,096 when factoring in income from pensions and annuities as well additional income from “rental real estate, royalties, partnerships, S corporations, trusts, etc.”

Hawley and his wife Erin, a lawyer, had a combined adjusted gross income of $295,925.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Missouri Senate race a Toss-up

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