Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.
The exclusive event, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht "Cracker Bay," was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney's bid.
"I think it's ironic they do this aboard a yacht that doesn't even pay its taxes," said a woman who lives aboard a much smaller boat moored at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina.
Romney's Cayman-based investments have come under fire during the campaign.
The Cracker Bay is owned by Gary Morse, developer of the Villages retirement community. Companies controlled by Morse gave nearly $1 million to the pro-Romney Restore Our Future superPAC. Registered in the Caymans, the Cracker Bay has an impressive art collection and can seat 30 for dinner.
Romney to date has declined to identify the names of his top "bundlers" -- those who gather checks from scores of donors on the candidate's behalf.
"He is the first nominee in 12 years to withhold these names," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money on the website opensecrets.org.
"These are the most important insiders," she said. "The public needs to know who these people are because thy are the one's who stand to gain the most from a Romney presidency."
Her group and others have gathered more than 20,000 signatures from people calling on Romney to name his top bundlers.
Campaign officials at the event declined comment."I think Gov. Romney is going to do what he has to to follow the law," Gov. McDonnell told ABC News.
Among those attending was Mel Sembler, a former top supporter of President George W. Bush and Charlie Moncrief, an oil executive from Texas, and his wife Kit. Other guests covered up their nametags as they exited for waiting busses and SUVs to take them to their next event.
This is shaping up to be one of the most astonishing candidacies we've seen in a very long time. The 1% had managed to get one of their own nominated to be the president and he's not really trying to hide it. Not that it was necessary. Most candidates would do their bidding. But in their current arrogant delusion, having power isn't enough. Neither is it enough for them to have all they need to gather more and more of the world's wealth for themselves. They want to be validated. So they are pulling out all the stops for their own Galtish Batman and his Randian Robin.
For the best article you're going to read on just what a scam --- a full blown con game --- the Romney candidacy is, read this latest from Taibbi:
By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. The result has been a brilliant comedy: A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place. That same man then runs for president riding an image of children roasting on flames of debt, choosing as his running mate perhaps the only politician in America more pompous and self-righteous on the subject of the evils of borrowed money than the candidate himself. If Romney pulls off this whopper, you'll have to tip your hat to him: No one in history has ever successfully run for president riding this big of a lie. It's almost enough to make you think he really is qualified for the White House.
The unlikeliness of Romney's gambit isn't simply a reflection of his own artlessly unapologetic mindset – it stands as an emblem for the resiliency of the entire sociopathic Wall Street set he represents. Four years ago, the Mitt Romneys of the world nearly destroyed the global economy with their greed, shortsightedness and – most notably – wildly irresponsible use of debt in pursuit of personal profit. The sight was so disgusting that people everywhere were ready to drop an H-bomb on Lower Manhattan and bayonet the survivors. But today that same insane greed ethos, that same belief in the lunatic pursuit of instant borrowed millions – it's dusted itself off, it's had a shave and a shoeshine, and it's back out there running for president.
Mitt Romney, it turns out, is the perfect frontman for Wall Street's greed revolution.
Yes he is.