The billboard reads: "Congressman Vern Buchanan voted to cut taxes for the wealthiest one percent (himself included) — then bought a yacht. That same day”
August 23, 2018

A billboard went up a few days ago in Sarasota as Buchanan's yacht has become an election issue.

Source: Tampa Bay Times

A Monday report detailed how the Republican congressman, who represents parts of Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties, financed the purchase of a 73-foot luxury ship with a seven-figure loan from BMO Harris, a subsidiary of a Canadian bank — while helping to craft the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Buchanan's likely Democratic opponent in November, attorney David Shapiro, pounced on the report, published by a partnership between the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, MapLight and Capital & Main.

"Today, we learned the Congressman financed his yacht with a loan from a foreign bank lobbying on the tax bill," Shapiro said in a statement. "It's time Vern Buchanan answer the question once and for all: is he representing Florida families in Washington, or his special interests?"

According to FCIR, Buchanan borrowed as much as $5 million from BMO Harris to buy the yacht while he sat on the House Ways and Means Committee. That committee is the one that initially crafted the 2017 tax bill — on which BMO Harris heavily lobbied Congress, according to the investigative news outlet. The bank benefitted tremendously from the legislation, which slashed corporate tax rates.

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