If CBS wanted to depict attendees as caricatures of moneyed power, they couldn't have picked a better place than Florida's private over-the-top bastion of leisure and luxury the Ocean Reef Club. CBS got permission to tag along with 14 Republican congressmen during a fundraising getaway that, according to its website, has "54 holes of golf, a salon and spa, more than a dozen restaurants, a 175-slip marina, a private airport, and so much more." Such as: a movie theater, tennis center, library and museum, a private beach, a SCUBA diving program, boutique shops, and a cooking school.
The getaway with fundraisers was organized by Rep. Spencer Bachus, of Alabama, and Rep. Pete Sessions, of Texas, along with 12 Republican freshmen, which included, per CBS, "Sandy Adams (Fla.), Quico Canseco (Texas), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Bob Dold (Ill.), Sean Duffy (Wis.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Penn.), Daniel Webster (Fla.), Mike Grimm (N.Y.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Jim Renacci (Ohio) and Cory Gardner (Col)."
There's nothing earth-shattering in the revelation that elected officials do rich people things with rich people in order to get their money. But CBS's point is that these members of Congress promised to do things differently from the special-interest-courting Washington insiders they were replacing. It quoted a Gardner from a campaign ad in which he promised, "I will always put Colorado families before the Washington special interests." But the resort looks pretty darned special on the hidden camera. Among the activities on the itinerary, a $10,000 happy hour, a sail on a yacht named Good Life, and, of course, some golf. This may be why Dick Cheney did back-woodsy things like hunting with lobbyists. You look far less like Thurston Howell when you're dressed in an orange vest and holding a shotgun.