Vern Buchanan bought yacht after voting for House version of GOP tax bill – Florida Politics

Vern Buchanan bought yacht after voting for House version of GOP tax bill

A recently filed financial disclosure shows U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan celebrated passing the House version of the Republican tax bill in quite the lavish way.

According to the disclosure, Buchanan spent between $1 million and $5 million purchasing an Ocean Alexander yacht on Nov. 16, 2017, the same day he joined 226 other Republicans and no Democrats in voting for the first draft of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

The final tax bill passed Congress on Dec. 20 and was signed into law by President Donald Trump two days later.

While the tax plan was pitched as helping the middle class, it does so only minimally and temporarily if at all. For the nation’s highest earners and for corporations, however, it was a magnanimous change in policy.

Count Buchanan among those benefitting bigly.

It’s no secret that Buchanan, who represents Florida’s 16th Congressional District, is a wealthy man. According to a Roll Call report, his $73.9 million net worth makes him the eighth wealthiest member of Congress, and by far the wealthiest from the Sunshine State — U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney is $19 million behind in the No. 11 spot. That list might not be up to date, however, as U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney has a listed net worth of $22 million even though many estimate his worth in the hundreds of millions if not over $1 billion.

Given his net worth and income, progressive group Tax March estimated that the bill would save him up to $2.1 million on his taxes.

That’s most of the way to a yacht, which likely trended toward the higher end of the reported range given that Ocean Alexander’s least expensive model — the 70-foot 70E Motoryacht — has a base price of $3.25 million.

Max Goodman, a spokesman for Buchanan, said news of the yacht purchase is part of a “coordinated attack” four months before the election. The purchase was disclosed on paperwork filed by Buchanan on May 15.

“It’s no coincidence that this partisan smear comes at the same time a dark money group is airing a TV ad against Vern that is so dishonest one newspaper called it ‘stunning in its deception.’ Vern has owned boats for more than 20 years and it’s no secret to his constituents that he has lived the American Dream,” he said.

Buchanan hasn’t said much about the tax plan in the months since it passed, though as chair of the Tax Policy Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee he played a key role in crafting the legislation.

Nor has he said much about his party affiliation — in the TV ads he’s released for his re-election campaign, he’s cast himself as an effective bipartisan lawmaker and as an independent leader without ever mentioning that he’s a Republican.

Though he’s hit TV early in his re-election bid, Buchanan is facing a serious challenge in the fall in a district that has no more of a Republican lean than House District 72, where Democratic Rep. Margaret Good defeated his son, James Buchanan, in a special election held earlier this year.

Outside group Floridians for a Fair Shake recently put more than $600,000 behind an ad criticizing Buchanan’s support of the GOP tax bill. The group also chartered a plane to fly along the district’s coast with a banner criticizing the congressman’s votes to “sabotage” the Affordable Care Act.

Buchanan is likely to face Sarasota attorney David Shapiro, a Democrat, in the November general election. He took to twitter shortly after news of Buchanan’s yacht purchase broke.

Through the end of the second quarter, Shapiro had raised more than $1 million for his campaign. Buchanan has raised more than $1.4 million, including $640,000 in Q2, but his campaign started with plenty of leftover funds from the 2016 election cycle. He has $2.5 million at the ready.

CD 16 covers all of Manatee County, southwestern Hillsborough County and northern Sarasota County. University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato‘s Crystal Ball rates the district as “likely Republican” in the fall.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

16 Comments

  1. Tax cuts helps millions of people that own companies with themselves as the only employee or 1-10 employees. Your facts don’t add up. I think it’s great that someone can buy a yacht. I celebrate when I see people buy nice things. I’d like to get an invite on the yacht my friend recently bought a boat 4 round half a million dollars God bless him. It can only be done if you work hard and work smart and make good decisions. the last part make good decisions is something that people inherit money have to do as well or they will be broke like a large percentage of lottery winners. Liberals complain that Fox News is opinion at least it’s opinion based in fact. You said he doesn’t say he’s a Republican I read your news article like you’re reporting news but you’re reporting opinion I didn’t see this is an opinion article. Therefore aren’t you miss representing yourself as you claim this politician is doing?

    1. Can you share some of what you’ve been smoking so the rest of us can be just as delusional and out of touch with reality as you are Chris?

    2. He voted to give himself a multimillion dollar yacht!!!
      If you cant see the massive conflict of interest then there’s no hope for you!

  2. Hey, it was built in Florida. I have no problem with the purchase. Thank you for supporting Florida manufacturers, Vern.

  3. When politicians and their sleazy flacks say absurd things like “This is part of a coordinated partisan attack,” reporters shouldn’t dignify their bullshit by quoting them. If they’re not going to respond substantively, they shouldn’t get the opportunity to respond at all.

  4. All anyone needs to know: Vern Buchanan bought yacht after voting for House version of GOP tax bill. It’s a taxcut scam for the wealthiest 1%. but at the end of the day, he could have bought that yacht regardless because he’s a millionaire. So, companies selling luxury goods that cater to the filthy rich are not really a sector that is in dire straits. We do however care about the fact that a permanent $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut scam – gifted by the GOP to the top wealthiest 1% – is being carried on the backs of the middle and lower economic sectors. That’s why this is a tax cut scam. It really isn’t rocket science kiddos.

    1. To correct you… Due to the current “trade war” boat and yacht builders are NOT doing well, and are facing a very uncertain future. Have a good day.

  5. Swindling investors out of millions with his Speedy Printing scam. Shady offshore reinsurance businesses. What do you expect? Good job Florida.

  6. Dems are knocking tax cuts but we middle class people also enjoy what little break we get. It’s better then nothing.

  7. So he bought a Yacht like any American Citizen with a legal bankroll, throw the dirt towards Buchannon, this way Hillary who un-mercifully hurt people with her theft of multi millions more than his worth along with O’Bummer. Now we are a rich country who always strived for people, but let’s single out an individual and create a political football. This is not the American way, it’s the new far left way of attacking in order to protect it’s short commings for protecting our country. Thank you for making my mind up as to who to vote for, I seriously was not sure but this attack is so consistant with what’s wrong in Washington D.C.

  8. The Trump tax cut raised taxes on Nancy Pelosi and other rich people living in California and New York where property taxes are high because it capped the property tax deduction. Nancy wants her tax deduction back and she’s going to take your “crums” back to get it.

  9. Nanci Pelosi and other rich people got their taxes raised by the Trump tax cut because of the cap on the property tax deduction

  10. Greed will destroy this Country. I’ve watched from President Kennedy on I have seen how the Republicans have never cared about the middle class, working class or the seniors that built this country. It took the Democrats to in act Social Security, ( Railroad Retirement Fund), Medicare, Medicad, OSHA, EPA, and then Affordable Care Act ( Obama Care ).
    the Republicans have always tried to destroy these programs due to jealously because they didn’t come up with them because they DON”T CARE about anyone but themselves.
    Money is all they care about, and how much they can put in their pockets. They don’t care if you live or die as long as they have all the rich goodies they want period!
    I watched as the republican Congress republicans would vote down everything good for this country like clean air an clean water and then vote for a vacation for themselves and a raise. God help us. This is not what man was intended to do for man & woman on this earth. to loave themselves over the poor the sick the needy or those that sent you there do something good for this country so you can say you stood for justice a right and good.
    God help you if you don’t.

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