Why won’t Claire McCaskill pick up Christine Blasey Ford in her Pilatus PC-12?

Christine Blasey Ford is facing some challenges in making it to Washington, D.C. “Kavanaugh accuser says GOP trying to ‘bully’ her” (Politico):

The GOP has been told that Ford does not want to fly from her California home to Washington, according to the Republican senator, which means she may need to drive across the country to make the hearing. Ford has reportedly told friends she is uncomfortable in confined spaces, indicating a physical difficulty in making the trip by plane.

From “Claire McCaskill, Elizabeth Warren describe their #MeToo stories of sexual harassment” (Washington Examiner):

One of the stories — elicited in response to the social media #MeToo campaign — came from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who said a senior state lawmaker told her decades ago that she may need to trade sexual favors for passage of legislation.

“I cautiously approached the very powerful speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives” McCaskill said. “He looked and me and paused and said, ‘Well, did you bring your knee pads?'”

“I do think he was joking, but it was shocking that he would make that joke to a colleague,” said McCaskill, who has previously opened up on the incident.

McCaskill owns a Pilatus PC-12. Suppose that she were to demonstrate her passion for the #MeToo era by sending the crew and plane out to the Palo Alto airport. Rather than be confined in a five-seat automobile for five days, or endure the suffering of domestic First Class airline travel, Dr. Ford would be able to spread out in this massive executive 11-seater (2 pilot seats plus typically 8 seats and a restroom in the back) as she made her way to Washington, D.C. to testify.

[How do we know that McCaskill owns a PC-12? “McCaskill repays nearly $300,000 for unpaid taxes on plane” (CNN):

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, acknowledged Monday that she failed to pay nearly $300,000 in personal property taxes owed over the last four years for the partial ownership she and her husband have in a private plane.

McCaskill, a vocal supporter of reform and transparency in the Senate, described the failure to pay taxes as unintentional and said she will sell the plane.

McCaskill’s acknowledgement comes shortly after Politico reported that she used tens of thousand of dollars from her Senate office budget to cover the costs of chartering the plane for Senate business. After the story broke, McCaskill repaid the U.S. Treasury $88,000 for 89 flights.

McCaskill said the disclosure had created a “perception” problem and the “appearance of impropriety.” She sought a full accounting of her use of the plane which revealed the failure to pay taxes.

Did she sell the plane? Seven years later, “McCaskill admits to using private plane for part of RV tour”:

A campaign aide confirmed to CNN that the plane used during the tour is different from the one McCaskill had in 2011.

“Clearing The Air On Senator “Aire Claire” McCaskill’s Use Of An Airplane”:

In a political stunt, she demanded her husband “sell the damn plane.” But shortly after her reelection, the senator and her husband  bought a new, more expensive plane.

Technically, the plane is owned through TLG Aviation LLC, a McCaskill-owned business entity valued at over $1 million.  It’s all detailed on the senator’s personal financial disclosure form for the fiscal year 2016. Aero Charter, the company hired by Senator McCaskill to operate the 2009 Pilatus PC-12/47E [N5346M], wrote to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier in April 2017 to ask for the tracking information on the plane to be blocked from the public.”

If you do try to track this plane on FlightAware, it says “This aircraft (N5346M) is not available for tracking per request from the owner/operator”.

How does a senator pay for an airplane that costs $5 million new? “Claire McCaskill’s wealth comes into focus” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2011):

In 2005, months after McCaskill announced her candidacy for Senate, [ex-husband] Exposito was fatally shot in a hardscrabble neighborhood across the border in Kansas.

By then, McCaskill was married to developer Joseph Shepard, whom she met at the birthday party of a mutual friend. Their union meant that the details of Shepard’s vast business enterprise had to be revealed under disclosure rules for elected officials and their spouses.

Shepard has made a fortune investing in affordable housing, an industry that employs complex investment vehicles and intricate tax credit swaps. Shepard’s holdings, according to forms filed with the U.S. Senate, are divided among dozens of limited partnerships, from Abilene, Kan., to Zephyrhills, Fla.

So it turns out to be tax dollars that ultimately paid for the plane. “Businesses linked to McCaskill’s husband get $131 million in federal dollars” (Kansas City Star):

Businesses tied to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s husband have been awarded more than $131 million in federal subsidies since the Missouri Democrat took office in 2007, an analysis by The Kansas City Star found.

Joseph Shepard’s personal income from his investments in those businesses has grown exponentially during his wife’s two terms in the Senate.

The federal payments don’t go directly into Shepard’s pocket. Most of the money goes toward operating costs for government-subsidized housing projects Shepard is invested in. Those companies then distribute the profits to Shepard and other investors.

In 2006, the year before McCaskill entered the Senate, her husband’s personal income from those investments was between $1,608 and $16,731, according to the senator’s financial disclosure forms.

In 2017, five years into McCaskill’s second term, Shepard personally earned between $365,374 and $1,118,158 from investments in housing projects that received federal subsidies, the disclosure forms show. Disclosure forms only provide ranges of income.

Shepard (the rich guy) was previously married. That wife sued for divorce and, during the litigation, filed for a restraining order alleging domestic violence (police report and Petition for Order of Protection). Having married a man who was accused of assaulting a woman, McCaskill could offer to join for the trip and talk with Dr. Ford about the circumstances under which it should be #BelieveTheSurvivor.]

 

10 Comments

  1. Irredeemable Deplorable

    September 21, 2018 @ 11:36 pm

    1

    Beautiful. This is Bob Woodward caliber stuff.

  2. M

    September 21, 2018 @ 11:59 pm

    2

    Why cannot we just relocate the Congress to Palo Alto for the duration of the hearings?

  3. Jack

    September 22, 2018 @ 11:17 am

    3

    Great article that should win a Pulitzer. Way to go, Phil!

  4. LinePilot

    September 22, 2018 @ 11:18 am

    4

    Philip – the “massive executive 11 seater” usually is described as a poor man’s transportation in your posts 😉

  5. philg

    September 22, 2018 @ 11:29 am

    5

    LinePilot: Certainly a $5 million PC-12 is ghetto compared to one of Hillary’s chartered $50 million Gulfstreams ( see http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/hillary-clintons-private-jet-tab ). We could also ask why none of the crazy rich Trump-haters have stepped up to offer a G650 or BBJ ride. I hope that Dr. Ford’s claustrophobia wouldn’t be triggered by a solo ride in the back of a Boeing 737 in BBJ configuration.

    (Also, I mentioned McCaskill because she is the only senator that I know of with an airplane. If we broaden the potential donor of a spacious airplane ride to “anyone who wants to see Kavanaugh rejected” then there could be a lot of options!)

  6. Vince

    September 22, 2018 @ 7:46 pm

    6

    Just recently you mentioned, for no apparent reason, that Donald Trump has his own 757. That sounds like it would be much more space. Why doesn’t Trump offer Dr. Ford a free ride to Washington?

  7. philg

    September 22, 2018 @ 9:24 pm

    7

    Vince: Why not the B757? Dr. Ford has said that she is concerned for her safety when testifying at the Senate. Wouldn’t she feel unsafe taking a ride in an airplane owned by a “man captured on tape boasting about groping women”? (see https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/22/us/politics/kavanaugh-blasey-ford-women-trump.html ) Even if she inspected the ETOPS records and thought that the airplane was okay, how could she be assured that Trump wouldn’t jump out of a lav wearing a Hollywood-style casting bathrobe?

    So I thought maybe she’d feel better on a Pilatus owned by a female senator, so long as the absence of the senator’s husband (previously accused of assaulting the woman who’d sued him for divorce) could be assured.

  8. philg

    September 22, 2018 @ 9:31 pm

    8

    (Another issue is that the Trumpenfuhrer’s B757 might have some trouble getting in and out of the 2443′ runway at KPAO. I hope that you aren’t suggesting that Dr. Ford be inconvenienced (and potentially made unsafe) with a drive to KSFO or KSJC.)

  9. Vince

    September 25, 2018 @ 11:48 am

    9

    Trump has Secret Service agents with him wherever he goes. Any passenger on one of his planes would notice their presence. So that’s nothing to worry about. I have no idea what the heck KPAO is, but it doesn’t matter. It’s completely unclear what point you’re trying to make with this.

  10. philg

    September 25, 2018 @ 2:02 pm

    10

    Vince: The Secret Service didn’t interfere with Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky interacting, did they? Why would Dr. Christine Blasey Ford want to rely on this organization to protect her from a sexual encounter? She previously said that she had “safety” concerns around being at the Senate. Why would she feel safe with a man whom the NYT labels as a sexual assaulter?

    See http://www.airnav.com/airport/KPAO for the most convenient airport to Dr. Ford’s place of employment.

Log in