Patrick Murphy is a shareholder in family business that gave $300K to pro-Murphy super PAC
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy consistently expresses disdain for super PACs — even while being a shareholder in a family business that recently dumped $300,000 into a super PAC supporting his bid for higher office.
The Jupiter congressman owns between $1 million and $5 million worth of stock in his father’s company, Miami-based Coastal Construction Group, according to financial disclosures Murphy has filed with the U.S. House of Representatives since his first election in 2012.
Coastal gave a $300,000 donation to the pro-Murphy super PAC, “Floridians for a Strong Middle Class,” at the end of March. That was on top of a $200,000 donation that Murphy’s father and Coastal’s chairman and CEO, Thomas Murphy Jr., gave in December.
Thomas Murphy’s and Coastal’s donations account for more than half of the super PAC’s reported income to date, according to Federal Election Commission records.
But “I hate super PACs,” Patrick Murphy told the Palm Beach Post on Monday after a campaign event in West Palm Beach. “ I think Citizens United was one of the biggest mistakes in our country’s history.”
Super PACs are not bound by campaign contribution limits, but they are prohibited by federal law from coordinating with a candidate’s campaign.
Murphy’s campaign said there was no coordination with “Floridians for a Strong Middle Class,” but his primary opponent U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, questions whether there was.
“I think it’s hard to explain how this isn’t an illegal coordination,” Grayson said. “He’s a shareholder in the company and the company turns around and gives a huge donation to his super PAC. It smacks of utter desperation on his part.”