Alan Grayson campaign questions contribution to super pac supporting Patrick Murphy
The U.S. Senate campaign for U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson blasted his Democratic opponent U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy Friday because a super PAC backing Murphy had accepted a $50,000 donation from a controversial player in the controversial EB-5 visa program.
Grayson’s campaign alleges that the $50,000 given Floridians For a Strong Middle Class came from a company known as 230 East 63rd-6 Trust LLC, that it may be illegal, and, regardless, that it may be questionable because the man behind it, Nicholas Mastroiani II, was a notorious figure in the controversial visa-for-sale program.
The campaign notes that Murphy, of Jupiter, co-sponsored a bill in 2014 that expanded that program, House Resolution 4659, and questioned whether there was any quid-pro-quo.
Under the EB-5 program, developers are able attract foreign capital by offering EB-5 sponsorships, which provide green cards in exchange for large investments. In recent years, as the program evolved from being about getting capital for difficult-to-finance inner-city projects to being about getting cheap financing for big suburban developments, backed largely by wealthy Chinese wanting to come to America, it was derided by critics as a “visas-for-sale” program.
Mastroiani is reported to be one of the biggest players in the program. He has a long, checkered past in business and after he got involved with financing projects through the EB-5 program he became a big political promoter of the program through campaign donations, according to a 2014 article by Fortune Magazine entitled, “The tangled past of the hottest money-raiser in America’s visa-for-sale program.”
Grayson’s campaign questioned the legality of the donation, because the company canceled its business registration in Florida.
Murphy’s campaign referred inquiries to the super PAC.
Ashley Walker from Floridians For a Strong Middle Class noted that, contrary to the Grayson campaign’s claim, the donation was legal. She did not comment on Mastroiani, but accused Grayson of trying to deflect attention from his controversial hedge funds.
Grayson, of Orlando, also co-sponsored a bill, in 2013, supporting the EB-5 program and that bill had overwhelming Democratic support, so Murphy’s support for another bill supporting EB-5 was no political outlier.
Grayson’s campaign called Floridians for a Strong Middle Class Murphy’s “Daddy’s PAC” because the elder Murphy donated heavily to it early on.
“The bills that Murphy sponsors appear to carry price tags. The super PAC that his father just gave $200,000 to, has plenty of money,” Grayson spokesman David Damron stated in a news release. “Patrick’s Daddy PAC should return these deceptive LLC donations. They have the look of someone trying to hide a pay to play scheme.”
Walker’s statement read: “Floridians for a Strong Middle Class is a federally registered PAC, and our contributions meet the requirements of federal rules and regulations. Alan Grayson is trying to draw attention away from his lapse of ethics as he improperly used his position to advance the goals of his hedge fund as recently reported by the New York Times. Floridians simply cannot afford Alan Grayson’s unethical, tax-dodging tactics and hypocrisy.
- New York
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