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In Missouri, John Brunner Attacks GOP Opponent’s Wealth

Orlin Wagner/Associated Press
Missouri Senatorial candidate John Brunner is trying to make personal finances a key focus of the GOP primary. But that plan of attack may come back to haunt the wealthy businessman.

Missouri Senate candidate John Brunner has accused his primary opponent Rep. Todd Akin (R) of being dishonest about his finances.

But Brunner, a businessman worth as much as $87 million, some of which is housed in two offshore accounts, may soon see those attacks turned on him.

Between a private aircraft and bank accounts based in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, where he also has a vacation home, Brunner’s personal finances could also be a liability heading into one of the tightest Senate races of the year.

Brunner and Akin are locked in a competitive primary battle with former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill, Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbent.

With a week before the Republican primary, a poll showed McCaskill trailing all three of her GOP opponents; Brunner led handily.

Brunner has recently made family assets an issue by attacking Akin, whose minimum net worth is a mere $210,000 according to a report filed in May, for his stake in family land near a newly upgraded highway.

Brunner’s campaign is running advertisements accusing Akin of securing millions in federal funding for the highway project to increase the value of the acre plot and has said the six-term lawmaker has tried to hide his stake in the land.

Akin’s campaign called the Brunner attack “half the truth” in a post on his website. A spokesman said the lawmaker does not own enough of the property to make legal decisions about its use.

The McCaskill campaign has not been shy about inserting itself in the Republican primary and is poised to pounce on Brunner’s fortune should he win his party’s nomination.

Among the four candidates, Brunner, who has given almost $7 million of his own money to his campaign, is by far the wealthiest, according to a personal financial disclosure form filed earlier this month.

Congressional candidates are required to provide the same detailed information about their finances as sitting lawmakers, including stock holdings, financial transactions and loans, but the forms provide only a rough guide to actual wealth because assets and liabilities are reported in broad ranges of value. Roll Call subtracts the total minimum value of all liabilities from the sum of the minimum value of all assets to arrive at a minimum net worth, which for Brunner is $19.7 million. At the top range of all assets he could be worth as much as $87 million.

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