U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, bought a yacht the same day he voted for a large tax cut, according to a report.
A 2017 financial disclosure statement received by the Office of the Speaker on May 18 shows his corporation Aircraft Holding & Leasing LLC bought an Ocean Alexander boat worth between $1 million and $5 million on Nov. 16, 2017, the same day he and 226 other House Republicans voted in favor of its version of the tax bill. The final version of the bill was signed by President Donald Trump in late December.
Florida Politics first reported the story on Wednesday.
Buchanan is running for a seventh two-year term to represent Florida’s 16th Congressional District, and has no Republican challengers. One of Buchanan’s opponents, Democrat Sarasota lawyer David Shapiro, pounced on the opportunity, writing on Twitter, ”We can’t let politicians enrich themselves at the expense of their constituents.”
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Shapiro also cited a figure by Tax March, a group that demonstrated last year for the president to release his tax returns, that estimated Buchanan would see a $2.1 million benefit from the tax law. The Associated Press reported that Buchanan, who owns real estate and car dealerships, could see tax breaks in these stakes because of the law he helped write.
In a message to the Bradenton Herald, Buchanan’s campaign manager Max Goodman wrote: “This is all part of a coordinated attack four months before the election. 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.’”
The group to which he was referring is Floridians for a Fair Shake, which is targeting both Buchanan and U.S. Rep. Brian Mast who represents Florida’s 18th Congressional District on the Treasure Coast.
“Vern has owned boats for more than 20 years and it’s no secret to his constituents that he has lived the American Dream,” Goodman added.