POLITICS

Dirty Ad Attacks Claire McCaskill For Old Domestic Violence Claim Against Her Husband

Even the woman who made the allegation is denouncing the ad as "disgusting dirty politics."

A new ad from the conservative Club for Growth argues Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) should not be re-elected because her husband had been accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife. 

Welcome to the hijacking of the #MeToo movement, where women are blamed for alleged misconduct committed by men.

The ad tries to portray McCaskill as someone who doesn’t care about domestic violence victims, blaming her for the lack of resources for shelter and assistance. The group’s proof? Basically, that she’s married to a man who has faced a domestic violence allegation in his previous marriage. 

Here is the ad’s transcript: 

Each week in Missouri, over 500 requests for shelter and assistance for domestic violence victims go unmet. As victims cry for help, is Claire McCaskill listening? Even after McCaskill’s political benefactor and now-husband was accused of abusing his then-wife, McCaskill looked the other way, voting to finance the agencies providing him with fat government contracts. Millions for them, another slap in the face for victims.

Joseph Shepard’s ex-wife made the allegation in 1998, and he was never charged. McCaskill did not marry him until 2002. 

In other words, because McCaskill’s husband once had a domestic violence allegation in a previous marriage and because McCaskill is a senator and didn’t stop the federal government from awarding him money, she has betrayed domestic violence victims everywhere. OK. 

Suzy Shepard, Joseph’s ex-wife who made the allegation, denounced the ad. 

“I support Claire and hope she is re-elected,” she said. “This attack is terribly unfair and the worst kind of disgusting dirty politics.”

Meira Bernstein, McCaskill’s spokeswoman, called it an “ugly and shameful personal attack” and said the senator would not be discussing her husband’s divorce.

The claim about McCaskill helping her husband get rich is also off. A McClatchy investigation found that although businesses tied to Shepard have received more than $131 million in federal subsidies since McCaskill took office in 2007, there’s “no evidence that McCaskill played any part in directing federal funds to businesses affiliated with her husband.”

The Kansas City Star editorial board said the spot was “so disgusting that it rises to another level” and noted that McCaskill has a long record of fighting for women’s rights. 

And the campaign of Josh Hawley, McCaskill’s GOP opponent, also distanced itself from the ad, saying, “If he had his way, this race would focus 100 percent on how he and Claire McCaskill differ in the way they approach the job of being Missouri’s senator.”

CONVERSATIONS