The Washington Post

GOP freshmen fish for dollars at ritzy retreat


It’s the “2012 Freshmen Family & Fishing Weekend” fundraiser for 12 House Republican newbies with “special guests” Reps. Spencer Bachus (Ala.) and Pete Sessions (Tex.), our invite says.

The event goes to help Reps. Sandy Adams (Fla.), Quico Canseco (Tex.), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Bob Dold (Ill.), Sean Duffy (Wisc.), Steve Fincher (Tenn.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Jim Renacci (Ohio) and Daniel Webster (Fla.) in their reelection efforts.

The 4,000-member club, “an exclusive community of like-minded people,” features pretty much everything, according to its Web site. There’s not one but two “championship 18-hole golf courses” and fishing opportunities of every sort, from deep-sea and reef fishing to bonefishing in the shallow flats only 10 minutes away.

You won’t be bothered by the Occupy Wall Street riff-raff, thanks to the club’s crack private security team. And getting there couldn’t be more convenient — just land whenever you want at the ORC private airport, which is “always ready when members and their guests’ personal schedules require their presence off-island.”

Taking the yacht instead? No problem. There’s room for 175 boats at the club’s beautiful marina.

The fundraiser runs $20,000 per PAC ($10,000 for an individual) if you want to be on the host committee. Half that if you’re just buying a ticket. The 12 freshmen include some tea party members and others elected with strong tea party support, but the club doesn’t seem the place where members toss tea over the docks to protest their high taxes. Perhaps a little Earl Grey over the bow on occasion.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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