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Vern Buchanan mum on role in tax bill that could provide him significant windfall

Instead he focuses on benefit to 'mom and pop' businesses.

WASHINGTON -As Republicans work to sell voters on the merits of the sweeping tax legislation they are focused on the average person. But the biggest winners are corporations and the wealthy.

People like U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, who helped write the legislation. An Associated Press story yesterday focused on the windfall Buchanan could stand to see from the bill, which President Donald Trump signed into law just before heading to Mar-a-Lago for Christmas.

Already one of the wealthiest lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Buchanan could become even wealthier after he and other Republicans muscled a sweeping rewrite of the U.S. tax code through Congress late last year that includes breaks for the real estate and automobile industries that generate most of his income.

The potential windfall for Buchanan — worth at least $80 million and perhaps much more — echoes on a smaller scale how favorable the new tax law is to President Donald Trump, whose fiery populism won him support from struggling American workers and families.

Buchanan's office did not respond to detailed questions from the AP about his role in writing the bill or how much he stood to gain. So we asked, too, and got the same result: Buchanan isn't willing to discuss specifics related to him.

"Everyone benefits under tax cuts – especially the economy. Vern worked to reduce taxes for middle-class Americans and generate economic growth powerful enough to raise wages and create jobs – all of which are happening now," spokesman Riley Ploch said in an email Wednesday.

"Vern was the sponsor of t he Main Street Fairness Act and worked to ensure that small businesses – which account for 94 percent of all businesses in America – did not pay higher tax rates than corporations. Why should a mom and pop hardware store pay a higher tax rate than Exxon-Mobil?"

In a second email, Ploch said: "He fought for the entire tax cut bill. It benefits everybody."