Congressman Patrick Murphy still wants colleague and rival Alan Grayson to resign over allegations Grayson "parlayed his post in the House into personal financial gain." That's rich. Especially when you look at Murphy's dirty hands.
Finally somebody in the media did. On Wednesday a McClatchy reporter asked Murphy how he squares his support for a controversial EB-5 bill with the fact his family business was general contractor on an EB-5-financed project.
EB-5, remember, is a visa program that allows wealthy foreigners a path to U.S. citizenship by investing $500,000 or more in things like ... oh, for instance ... construction projects.
The Senate Leadership Fund was the first organization to say Murphy had pushed legislation to strengthen the EB-5 program -- looking suspiciously like personal gain. Sunshine State News was right behind in covering the story. We said the measure would benefit Coastal Construction, the company owned by Murphy’s father and one in which the congressman holds a large stake.
That company is one of two main contractors on a mega-project called SkyRise Miami. Skyrise's developer, Jeffrey Berkowitz, is a major employer of EB-5 workers. Berkowitz wants to use EB-5 workers to help build his planned 1,000-foot-high tower overlooking Biscayne Bay.
The bill died in the last session of Congress, but the issue isn't over. It will resurface.
When McClatchy asked Murphy to explain why he pushed the legislation, Murphy denied his support had anything to do with the family business.
“I’m not actively involved in the Coastal Construction family business,” Murphy told the reporter. “As far as I know, they have not done any projects having to do with EB-5” workers.
Then he added, “This is legislation I support because it creates jobs. I support legislation that creates jobs for working Americans and Floridians.”
What I don't get is, why there's no investigation -- indeed, not the slightest trace of vetting -- of Murphy, Grayson's opponent in the Florida Democratic primary to claim Republican Marco Rubio's Senate seat.
Murphy's potential campaign violations -- of the quid-pro-quo variety -- are of just as serious an ethical nature as Grayson's; in fact, they are potentially worse. Again, read "Why Isn't Senate Candidate Patrick Murphy Under Investigation?"
What hasn't yet been reported is that on Aug. 29, 2014, after his family business received the general contract for the EB-5 financed Skyrise Miami, Murphy met with Chinese businessman Liu Yu to focus on the “interests and the protections" of the EB-5 program's Chinese investors. (Note: The previous link is the translated version of the original Chinese language article located here.)
Ian Prior, spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund, points out that weeks later, Murphy signed onto the EB-5 Regional Center Extension Act.
Prior wonders, "Is Patrick Murphy running to be Florida's senator, or China's?" Good question.
“Alan Grayson claimed that Patrick Murphy was as ‘crooked as a three dollar bill,’" said Prior. "He may be on to something. While Murphy has been patting himself on the back for Grayson’s bad week, he would do well to remember that Floridians don’t yet know about all the shady big financiers behind his own sudden rise to power.”
Exactly what I've been saying.
- New York
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