By DAVID A. LIEBAssociated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - Republican Senate challenger Todd Akin launched a TV ad Thursday claiming the family of Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill "pocketed $40 million of federal subsidies" - an assertion that McCaskill says is not true.
The ad dubs McCaskill as "corrupt Claire" and claims she is "getting rich off government." It cites an Associated Press report from earlier this week that businesses affiliated with McCaskill's husband had received almost $40 million of federal housing subsidies during her first five years in office. That report, however, did not say McCaskill's family personally pocketed all of that money.
According to an online government database, firms in which McCakill's husband, Joseph Shepard, has an ownership stake appear to have received about $39 million in federal housing subsidies between 2007 - when McCaskill took office - and the end of 2011. McCaskill's financial disclosure reports indicate that her husband received between $400,000 and $2.6 million in income from those businesses in the years in which they received government payments.
But McCaskill's campaign has said many of those businesses also have other income sources, and that none of the federal subsidies wound up in the family's personal bank accounts. Her campaign cited regulations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture - which administers one of the housing programs - requiring that the subsidies be used for operating and maintaining the housing facilities.
"It's bad enough that Todd Akin would attack Claire's family, it's worse that he is now basing his entire campaign on a lie," McCaskill spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said Thursday. "This latest attack has been proven false and he knows it."
Akin's new ad comes just one day after McCaskill hit him with a trio of ads featuring rape survivors who were outraged by Akin's remark in August that women's bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy in instances of "legitimate rape." McCaskill's ads also highlight Akin's position that emergency contraception is a form of abortion, which he opposes.
Akin lost the verbal and financial support of many top national Republicans immediately after his remarks. He rejected calls from GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and others to drop out of the race and is now trying to mount a political comeback with an aggressive campaign that links McCaskill to the policies of President Barack Obama. Last week, Akin begun running an ad suggesting McCaskill's family had benefited from housing subsidies included in the 2009 stimulus act. But Thursday's ad marked his most direct attack on McCaskill.
"McCaskill's family pocketed $40 million in federal subsidies, $40 million of our money. Corrupt Claire," an announcer says in the ad. "The moment her hand came off the Bible, it went into our pockets."
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