SARASOTA — Congressman Vern Buchanan addressed the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce last Friday, and openly mocked the criticism of his tone-deaf purchase of a multimillion dollar yacht on the same day he voted to give himself a $2.1 million tax break. As reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:

During Friday’s annual luncheon meeting of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Congressman Vern Buchanan outlined recent legislative funding victories in the U.S. House and then mentioned something you’d think he might try to keep under the radar.

“Anybody hear I bought a yacht?” After the packed house of more than 500 chamber members finished laughing, he said, “It’s actually a boat.”

Buchanan broached the subject in light of campaign commercials that have blasted the closing of his up to $5 million boat purchase on the same day the Longboat Key Republican voted to approve the House version of the GOP tax cut bill.

Buchanan’s yacht purchase has captivated the attention of his constituents as well as national political reporters for months, and has increased his vulnerability this election cycle.

Floridians for a Fair Shake communications director Stephen Gaskill issued the following statement:

“Of course Vern Buchanan would yuck it up about buying a yacht. But has he heard Mitch McConnell proposing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to pay for the tax breaks that gave Vern his $2 million payoff?

“Is Vern laughing because he bought the yacht with a loan from a foreign bank that lobbied him on the tax bill, or are ethical considerations not valid when there’s a party on the lido deck on the horizon?

“We’ve been out in the community talking to Vern Buchanan’s constituents. What’s funny is, we can’t find anyone else who got so much as a new paddleboard – much less a yacht – the day Vern voted himself that multi-million tax break. Guess the joke’s on them.”

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