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Tallahassee Republicans invite donors on Disney cruise

For $50,000 contribution to the party, guests to receive oceanview room, meals and more

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RED TIDE

We already knew that champagne wishes and caviar dreams were the indigestible hallmark of Tallahassee Republicans. There’s rarely been a credit card or a lobbyist the Republican Party of Florida won’t overextend in the interest of satiating its desire for shiny, gold-flecked appearances of impropriety. So we weren’t as much surprised as we were amused to hear last week of an Aug. 1 fundraising cruise – that’s right, Republicans and their donors on a boat in international waters – aboard the Disney Dream. Oh, and you guys, Disney is totally not comping the trip to gain any favors or anything, because this is all completely aboveboard.

On July 16, the Miami Herald had a little fun breaking the story of floating indecency, which sort of forced future House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, to press-release what was until then a closely guarded rumor. Crisafulli played down the optics of opulence such an affair might inspire, telling the Herald, “I’ve always been happy to show off the cruise industry. It’s something I thought of because I grew up with Disney and thought this would be nice.” Support my campaign, Disney!

But that isn’t even the real kicker. Crisafulli’s official statement includes these two phrases: “Donors will receive a $200 onboard credit, a deluxe oceanview stateroom with a verandah, and all meals will be included in exchange for a $50,000 contribution to RPOF,” and “RPOF depends entirely on the generosity of contributors from all walks of life, and people give to RPOF in two ways, their time and their money.”

What!?

The release goes on to paddle its way through boilerplate about how the RPOF likes to “show our appreciation to our contributors in an ethical and transparent manner, and the RPOF finance team is always seeking creative ways to reward donors and volunteers at every level.”

OK, at what “walk of life” is $50,000 a wise investment for a $200 allowance and some cruise-ship food? Oh, the level that none of us know: The one that magically creates the laws that keep most of us broke and unhappy. Watch out for the iceberg that looks a little like Jim Greer. Bon voyage!

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