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Friday, December 2, 2016

Mitt Romney’s campaign saluted its top donors on Wednesday morning with an exclusive party aboard a luxury yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

ABC News reports that the event, which did not appear on any public calenders, was meant to thank those who have already contributed more than $1 million to Romney’s campaign. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was scheduled to speak to the roughly 50 guests, including energy billionaire Wilbur Ross, elite Republican fundraiser Mel Sembler, and Romney’s older brother, Scott. Presumably, no “nails ladies” were invited.

Several other guests covered their name tags as they exited the yacht to prevent ABC News from identifying them.

The luxury yacht, called “Cracker Bay,” is registered in the Cayman Islands and flies the British territory’s civil ensign. This raises an uncomfortable comparison for Romney, who has at least 12 accounts worth up to $30 million in the Cayman Islands. Cracker Bay was almost certainly registered in the Caymans for the exact same reason that Romney has stashed his money there: To avoid paying taxes on it.

The episode is a potential messaging disaster for Romney. As Republicans inside the convention try to convince a skeptical public that they are committed to protecting the middle class, their standard-bearer hosts a party for millionaires on a tax-free luxury yacht just outside. That image will certainly be comign soon to a Democratic attack ad near you.

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