Sen. Mark Kirk (Rino-IL) is crediting booze and a yacht for smoothing an agreement on gun control.
Speaking to reporters about his work on firearm background checks and other gun-related legislation, the Illinois Republican told a gaggle of reporters that credit for bipartisan efforts in the Senate are in part thanks to visits to the Black Tie, a vessel that is partially owned by Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va.
“You guys really ought to go out to National Harbor and see the Black Tie, which has been much of the reason for much of the bipartisan cooperation around here,” Kirk said.
Kirk said Sens. Kay Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat and Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, are frequent visitors. Asked about the menu at the gatherings, Kirk didn’t say much, though he indicated some booze might be consumed.
“Sometimes alcoholic beverages might be served and ties might … get loosened,” Kirk said.
Manchin described the yacht as “an old boat” in an interview with the Washington Post published today. He seemed a little surprised that they knew about it.
Ed O’Keefe: He said that you’re a one-eighth owner of a vessel that sits in National Harbor.
Manchin: “No, I’m not one-eighth. I’m a wee little small owner and have a generous partner. But you know what, it’s an older boat, it’s nice, we have a lot of fun.”
David A. Fahrenthold: Is it a yacht or pontoon?
Manchin: “No, it’s an older big boat. But we can get 10 or more senators and have a good time. And you know what? We can go float out there and you can’t find us.
“We go out on the Potomac. You build relationships. I’m doing everything I can to build relationships. I love to know my senator colleagues – Democrats and Republicans. Just trying to, I just know back home that’s what we do. Cheapest thing you can do is feed people.
Ed O’Keefe: Were any of the gun talks aboard The Black Tie?
Manchin: “We talk about everything. Everything. Everybody. You’d be surprised — and Mark will tell you that. Mark and I just kept getting, we’ve been good friends since day one and we kept getting closer and closer and closer. And we’d say, ‘Let’s invite so-and-so, you invite so-and-so and I’ll invite so-and-so.’
“And you know, just beer, pizza, whatever, just have a good time. But it was a way to break the ice, it was a way that we look forward to getting together. The boat’s not here now, but if we get it back, we’ll use it again.
The Black Tie is a little bit more than a “pontoon boat”. According to this article, Manchin bought the boat in partnership with another couple for $620,000 back in 2003. It is a 54 ft Sea Ray Sundancer 540. He and the other couple formed a Delaware corporation to own even though at the time he was Secretary of State for West Virginia. One of the current co-owners is former WV State Liquor Commissioner Dick Barber who was previously convicted on Federal charges of racketeering. Manchin’s people are denying that Barber is still an owner.
|An example of a Sundancer 540|
I guess the junior Senator from West Virginia is giving new meaning to trying to keep up with the Rockefellers.