FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2017, file photo, from left, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, confer before a news conference at the Capitol in Washington.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

On the same day, GOP lawmaker approved tax cuts, bought yacht

The Institute on Taxation and Economic and Policy, a progressive think tank, published a new report this week on the Republicans’ tax plan, and the degree to which it will benefit the wealthiest of the wealthy.

“If you look at the richest 1 percent, they’re getting more than the bottom 60 percent of Americans,” Steve Wamhoff, director of federal tax policy at the institute and one of the report’s authors, told Vox this week.

And some of those wealthy folks are apparently taking advantage of the windfall. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Rep. Vern Buchanan’s (R-Fla.) hometown newspaper, reported overnight:

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is drawing criticism for purchasing an expensive yacht on the same day he voted in favor of a major tax cut package that could save him a substantial amount of money.

A recent financial disclosure form shows Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, bought an Ocean Alexander yacht last year on Nov. 16. The boat cost between $1 million and $5 million according to the form.

That same day the GOP-controlled House pushed through a major tax cut that critics deride as disproportionately benefiting wealthy individuals such as Buchanan, whose minimum net worth the Associated Press recently estimated at $80 million.

The yacht purchase was first reported by the Florida Politics website.

The timing is less than ideal for the Republican congressman: on Nov. 16, 2017, Buchanan joined his GOP colleagues in supporting a regressive package of tax cuts that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. Also on Nov. 16, 2017, Buchanan bought his new yacht.

And while we’re at it, on the exact same day, Nov. 16, 2017, Buchanan issued a press release insisting that the Republican tax package he’d just voted for would benefit “middle-class families,” all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

To be sure, there’s been no suggestion of anything untoward about the purchase. Buchanan, who was independently wealthy before he arrived on Capitol Hill, can buy what he pleases.

But the congressman’s yacht probably isn’t the image GOP leaders want voters to see when the public thinks about the most notable Republican accomplishment of the Trump era.

For his part, Buchanan campaign manager Max Goodman told the Herald-Leader that the attention paid to the yacht purchase is “part of a coordinated attack four months before the election.”