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TODAY'S QUESTION: Will McCaskill and Kinder's failure to pay bills affect their 2012 campaigns?

Friday, April 8, 2011 | 5:07 p.m. CDT

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill owed about $320,000 in taxes, interest and penalties dating back as far as four years for a plane she and her husband own.

McCaskill said last week the personal property taxes are being paid to St. Louis County, the location of the twin-engine eight-seater.

Mike Zweifel, the communications chairman for the Central Missouri Young Republicans in Columbia, said he is skeptical the plane alone could doom McCaskill. Next year is a long way off, he said, and the plane might not be the most important thing to voters. But he says it offers Republicans an important talking point.

Another incumbent who recently found himself in political trouble is Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. On Tuesday, Kinder said he would pay $35,050 in hotel fees for 329 visits to the St. Louis area since 2006 because he didn't want the slightest suspicion attached to his name.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Kinder was attending sporting events, society galas and a Tea Party rally on those visits. Kinder, an advocate for minimum government spending of taxpayers' money, said he was audited in 2007 and 2010 by Democratic auditors and that the hotel visits were never an issue. He says he won't apologize for the time spent in St. Louis.

Kinder's $300,000 loan forgiveness from former Gov. Matt Blunt takes care of most of his remaining debt, including the hotel fees.

Will McCaskill's and Kinder's  failures to pay bills affect their 2012 campaigns?


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