Inside Politics: Akin, McCaskill’s challenger, claims conflict of interest with funds

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JEFFERSON CITY — Businesses affiliated with the husband of Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, have received almost $40 million in federal subsidies for low-income housing developments during her first five years in office.

Ms. McCaskill’s Republican challenger, W. Todd Akin, claims the payments represent a “conflict of interest and a breach of trust” with voters. The senator’s campaign says that is “flat-out wrong.”

Ms. McCaskill’s financial reports show that her husband, Joseph Shepard, earned between $400,000 and $2.6 million in income from the businesses that received federal payments from 2007 through 2011.

Ms. McCaskill voted for some, but not all, of the bills that funded the federal departments that provide the housing subsidies. Ms. McCaskill’s campaign says many of those housing contracts existed before Ms. McCaskill was elected in 2006, or before Mr. Shepard invested in them.

NEW YORK

Evangelical leaders appeal to Christians to vote GOP

NEW YORK — Evangelical leaders worried that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism could suppress conservative turnout are intensifying appeals for Christians to vote.

About two dozen prominent evangelical leaders issued a statement last month emphasizing conservative moral values over a candidate’s particular religion.

Influential Pentecostal publisher Steve Strang has also been working to get out the vote. He told a group of pastors last week that many churchgoers are having trouble setting aside theological concerns about Mormonism to back the Republican presidential nominee. Mr. Strang fears Christian conservatives will stay home on Election Day.

Mr. Romney is the first Mormon presidential nominee of a major party. Evangelical voters have said repeatedly in polls that they would back Mr. Romney despite concerns about his religion. But Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler said that hypothetical question now faces a real-world test.

MASSACHUSETTS

Attorney general questions town’s ban on profanity

BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is recommending that the town of Middleborough change or repeal a bylaw that prohibits public profanity.

The town approved a proposal during the summer that would allow police to enforce the 1968 ban by imposing a $20 fine on people who engage in loud swearing in public.

The proposal was made in response to concerns by local merchants about profanity-laden language used by teenagers and other young people in the downtown area and public parks.

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