Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

PolitiFact: How much does Patrick Murphy get from Wall Street?

The statement

Says Patrick Murphy has "taken more money from Wall Street than any other member of Congress other than the speaker and the majority leader."

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, June 30 in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board

The ruling

When looking at just the House, Grayson's point checks out.

But technically, Grayson said Murphy received more money than anyone else in Congress — which comprises two chambers. When you add senators into the mix, Murphy's contributions from Wall Street-types rank No. 19 overall. (Not bad for 535 members, but still not No. 3.)

That said, it's pretty clear from context that Grayson was limiting his statement to members of the House.

"While Congress can — and probably should — mean both chambers, many people use 'Congress' to refer to the House, and Senate to refer to the Senate," said Christopher Mann, an associate professor in the political science department at Skidmore College.

Senators typically receive more Wall Street money because there are fewer of them, so they have more impact on legislation. In addition, senators have more expensive races and therefore ask for more money.

Let's go back to the House. Grayson was referencing a study by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that analyzes campaign donations, that showed Murphy received $1.41 million from the "finance, insurance and real estate" sector in the 2016 election cycle.

That amount placed Murphy third among all members of the House, with Speaker Paul Ryan at No. 1 with nearly $2 million, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., at No. 2 with $1.58 million.

For similar fact-checks, the Center for Responsive Politics has said the best method to find how much money is being donated by Wall Street workers is to look at a subset of this category, called the "securities and investment" sector. This subcategory captures the greatest number of companies associated with Wall Street, without the other fields under the "finance, insurance and real estate" umbrella.

Even if you look at it this way, Murphy still places third for those kind of contributions among members of the House. Murphy received $352,500 from the securities and investment sector, according to a 2016 analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics. Ahead of Murphy is Ryan with $831,272 and McCarthy with $497,850.

Murphy's money from Wall Street-related industries amounts to about 4.5 percent of the $7.71 million he's received so far.

So why does Wall Street support Murphy so much? A couple of reasons.

Murphy is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services. Even though he is not a ranking member, he is on two subcommittees that deal with laws related to capital markets and another on monetary policy and trade.

The bigger reason probably has more to do with Murphy's goal and its location: the U.S. Senate, representing Florida. Florida is an "expensive state" for political races, Mann said, and Murphy is going to the industries he knows.

Murphy has raised more money from three other sectors than Wall Street in his 2015-16 campaign. Murphy raised $721,969 from employees of law firms and lawyers, $595,238 from retirees, and $474,600 from the real estate industry.

For the curious, the majority of Grayson's $2.5 million in contributions comes from retirees, law firms and lawyers, miscellaneous issues, which includes a variety of groups that focus on a single issue, nonprofit institutions and real estate.

We rate this statement Mostly True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/florida.

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