On Wednesday, The Kansas City Star pointed out that the husband of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) invested $1 million in a hedge fund tied to the Cayman Islands.
According to the senator's financial disclosures, Joseph Shepard has earned a minimum of $230,000 from his investments with Matrix Capital Management out of Waltham, Massachusetts — a firm known as a "feeder" fund that legally pours money into a Cayman-based "master"' fund.
Is this a big deal?
It depends on who you ask. Several outlets have pointed to the fact that McCaskill previously co-sponsored unsuccessful legislation aimed at cracking down on such offshore investments. The 2009 Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act backed by the senator stated that "tax havens are engaged in economic warfare against the United States, and honest, hardworking Americans."
The National Republican Senate Committee released a statement saying that while McCaskill's family "uses clever tax avoidance schemes to lower their own bill, the Senator continues to champion higher taxes for Missourians."
Meanwhile, McCaskill campaign spokeswoman Meira Bernstein insisted: "Claire does not make decisions on public policy based on what's best for her husband; she makes decisions based on what is best for the people of Missouri.
"That's why she voted against the recent tax bill that primarily benefited large corporations and the wealthy. And it's why she supported the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act."
But McCaskill later withdrew her name as a co-sponsor of the bill when it was reintroduced in 2011, and kept her name off of it when it was brought again in 2013, 2015, and 2017. Her husband's initial investment into Matrix was made in 2013.
On Friday, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on the offshore hedge fund fiasco as part of a litany of controversies over the years that have involved McCaskill's wealth and her public service. The question becomes whether or not these issues make the incumbent senior senator seem out-of-touch to Missouri voters — and if that will impact her reelection chances this fall.
Just last week, McCaskill was criticized for using her private plane on what was advertised by her campaign to be an RV trip through Missouri. This being the second time McCaskill's private plane use through the years has drawn national attention, her opponents seized the opportunity.
Presumed GOP nominee and Trump-endorsed Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley also took to Twitter to emphasize the fact that Sen. McCaskill pulled her name from the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, tweeting: "The Cayman scandal grows. Here's the rule of thumb with @clairecmc Its always about the money. Always. When the $$ comes calling, she comes running. #caymansclaire #MOSen"
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) June 20, 2018