Karen McCarthy (born March 18, 1947) is a Missouri politician. She served as the US Representative for the fifth district of Missouri from 1995 to 2005.
McCarthy was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts and grew up in Kansas City. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and became a teacher.
First elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1976 as a Democrat, she was re-elected eight times.
In 1994, Congressman Alan Wheat ran for US Senate and opened this seat. McCarthy was elected to the United States House of Representatives and was re-elected four times.
During her last term, she fell down an escalator in the Sam Rayburn House Building while intoxicated. After that incident, she entered rehab for alcoholism. McCarthy was also accused of violating federal election law by attending the Grammy Awards using campaign funds.
In December 2003, McCarthy announced that she wouldn't seek another term in the House. She was succeeded by Emanuel Cleaver, a fellow Democrat.