- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 27, 2006

Missouri Republicans working to re-elect Sen. Jim Talent yesterday filed an ethics complaint against his Democratic challenger, accusing state auditor Claire McCaskill of failing to adequately disclose her finances.

The state Democrats responded with their own lawsuit, charging that a newspaper ad on behalf of Mr. Talent fails to show who paid for it.

The Republicans in a 10-page complaint filed yesterday with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics say Mrs. McCaskill didn’t detail her total worth or real-estate income, as well as the tax credits she owns with her husband.

“Claire McCaskill has utterly failed to properly, fully, completely and accurately disclose her family’s interests, debts, income and potential conflicts of interest in violation of federal law and Senate Ethics Rules,” the complaint says.

Jared Craighead, executive director of the Missouri Republican State Committee, said Mrs. McCaskill has twice failed to provide additional information requested by the ethics committee. He said voters need such information to accurately judge a candidate’s actions.

The McCaskill campaign, locked in a nearly tied race with Mr. Talent, quickly dismissed the complaint as politically motivated and bogus.

The ethics panel was “completely satisfied” with the nearly 100 pages of financial documents that the campaign disclosed as part of “full” compliance with the statutes, said spokeswoman Adrianne Marsh.

“I personally talked to the ethics committee, and they assured me the campaign wouldn’t be receiving additional requests for information,” she said. “This is a sad and predictable attempt to distract voters from the issues that matter.”

A lawyer for Mrs. McCaskill, estimated by newspapers to be worth $30 million, also disputed the Republicans’ complaint, calling it a “partisan hit job.”

“There is no substance or merit to this claim,” said Marc Elias, of D.C. law firm Perkins Coie.

A spokesman for the ethics panel did not return a call requesting comment. The panel’s investigations are not public.

The Democratic complaint, filed with the Federal Elections Commission, focuses on an ad in the St. Louis Metro Sentinel Journal that states it was “donated by a friend.”

“While we suspect that ‘Donated by a Friend’ really means ‘Paid for by Washington Special Interests,’ former lobbyist Jim Talent needs to come clean and follow the law of the land so that the public can know who is attempting to buy this election,” Democratic Party spokesman Jack Cardetti said.

Federal law requires candidates to disclose who has paid for ads.

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