It’s a Missouri tradition. On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill stepped up to a new leadership role as the top ranking minority member of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The panel, part of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, traces its history to then-Sen. Harry Truman in 1941, who drove around the country exploring allegations of war profiteering in manufacturing plants. It became known as the Truman Committee and helped build his reputation before he was chosen to be nominated for the vice presidency under Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Despite being in the minority party, McCaskill admires new subcommittee chairman Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and says that she will retain “the opportunity to do oversight and investigations just about anywhere.” That includes consumer production, corruption, waste, fraud and other issues inside and outside of government.
McCaskill had a prime-time platform in 2014 as chair of a Commerce Committee panel investigating General Motors’ fatally faulty ignition switches. Although the spotlight might be less bright, the work aligns with her experience as a prosecutor and Missouri auditor. “So much of my work is oversight, and no matter if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, oversight goes on whether or not you legislate. That’s been my bread and butter.”
And if the Democrats find a way to retake the Senate, say in 2016, so much the better for her committee status.