Sunday, May 29, 2016

Patrick Murphy's Out Of Control Corruption-- A Perfect Symbol For Reid's Clouded Departure And Schumer's Ominous Arrival


I only ever had one argument with Keith Ellison. He wanted the Congressional Progressive Caucus to endorse Patrick Murphy when Murphy first ran for Congress against war criminal Allen West in 2012. I pointed out that Murphy was a rich, spoiled, drunken Republican without a single Democratic value-- let alone progressive value-- in his simple, fogged little mind. Ellison didn't dispute the obvious but claimed that Murphy would take direction from him. Fortunately, not enough CPC members agreed and they didn't endorse Murphy. Many Democrats did however. The DCCC loved everything bad about Murphy and spent $548,517 on the election, coordinated with a $2,375,691 expenditure from Nancy Pelosi's House Majority PAC, some of that money coming from the powerful Al-Rashid family from Saudi Arabia, which has taken a gigantic role in financing Murphy's political career. (Murphy managed to get himself assigned to the House Intelligence Committee, which is exactly what the Saudis wanted of him.)

Murphy went on to beat a stunned West, who remarked during the campaign that Murphy "doesn’t want to be in front of the public, he has no ideas, he does not address any of the issues, he is the emptiest of an empty suit-- I think he’s just a name on the ballot." That was a perfectly accurate description. And as soon as Murphy took his seat, he joined the New Dems and started amassing an incredibly reactionary voting record-- the 4th worst of any Democrat in the House, featuring votes to remove President Obama from the Keystone XL Pipeline decision-- he wasn't following Ellison on that one-- and joining the Republicans to establish an anti-Clinton witch-hunt called the Benghazi Committee-- again, not following Ellison.

In 2013, the Shark Tank reported that Murphy "Boehner granted Patrick Murphy’s request to a private meeting to discuss Murphy’s possible defecting to the Republican Party" and then turned down his conditions and told him to stay with the Democratic Party. Friday I confirmed this story with a former Boehner staffer who told me he had first had knowledge of the meeting.

Now Murphy is being heavily pushed by Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid, the Wall Street banksters and, of course, the Al-Rashids for the open Florida Senate seat Marco Rubio is giving up. His Democratic primary opponent is independent-minded progressive champion Alan Grayson, who is loathed by corruptionists on Wall Street and their Beltway puppets-- namely Schumer and Reid. When Reid publicly announced he wanted Grayson to lose, Mitch McConnell chimed in that he agrees and that he also wants Grayson to lose. Steven Law, the CEO of McConnell's Senate Leadership Fund said. Grayson's "Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders agenda of more government may appeal to uncompromising liberals, but it's the wrong direction for our country." Last week, Josh Holmes, McConnell's former chief of staff talked about the Florida Senate race with the media and said he "can envision a scenario where the balance of the Senate tips to the Democrats with the election of Alan Grayson. And I'm not the least bit kidding about that...Grayson could beat that entire field of Republicans."

Friday, the Courage Campaign noted that Wasserman Schultz, like Murphy a corrupt New Dem, was getting too much of the blame for the pay day lender scandal. Sure, she took massive amounts of money from the finance sector and she "is pushing to gut a rule by Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to crack down on predatory payday lenders" BUT "it turns out she's far from the only corporate Democrat attacking the CFPB while cashing in on Wall Street. Representative Patrick Murphy, the lead Democrat sponsoring the bill, received $1.4 million from the financial sector this year alone, the fifth-most of anyone in the entire House of Representatives... Wall Street is stuffing millions into the pockets of corporate Democrats who are attacking Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau."

Writing for the Washington Post last week, Jennifer Rubin, gave more "credit" for the disaster that Murphy has turned into to Reid than to the real culprit, Chuck Schumer, who has vowed to the Wall Street banksters that he can "deliver" Murphy as a way of "balancing" Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley and other progressives. Rubin, writing that the Dems will find it nearly impossible to take back the Senate without winning Florida, asserted that Reid "set out to crush" Grayson on behalf of Patrick Murphy.
Reid’s handpicked candidate turned out to be a nightmare. One GOP operative gleefully said, “Murphy has had the worst month of any Senate candidate.” That could well be true, considering the stream of revelations and stumbles that suggest Reid and the Democratic establishment did not vet Murphy very well.

Murphy was caught embellishing his academic record. In and of itself, that might not raise concerns, but it comes amid a slew of other issues.

Local media have seized on a swirl of controversies about his wealthy father’s campaign support:
The Democrat has seen an avalanche of news headlines and political attacks in the last week surrounding: money his family-owned company and father gave to a super PAC that supports him; donations he received from an admitted felon; and a House bill he co-sponsored that would have benefitted political donors and his family business.

Most of these facts aren’t new, but Republican groups and primary opponent U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson have latched onto them.
Two Federal Election Commission complaints have already been filed concerning allegations about illegal coordination between his campaign and his super PAC. One of his donors was Ibrahim al-Rashid, who is the son of a shady adviser to the Saudi royal family and who pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-wife. (Murphy was compelled to return the donation from Rashid, whose father has given huge amounts to the Clinton Foundation.)

That’s not the only fishy donor, according to local press accounts:
Murphy also played down questions about his support for the EB-5 visa program. His campaigns have received contributions from Florida developers who tap into the funding source. Foreigners who invest at least $500,000 are given green cards; many participants are from China. The program has enjoyed broad support but also come under scrutiny for fraud and a perception it sends the wrong message about the country’s immigration system.

Nicholas A. Mastroianni II, a major EB-5 player based in Florida, has along with family members given Murphy about $25,000 and he has used companies to give at least $50,000 to the pro-Murphy super PAC. Another EB-5 developer and Murphy donor is Jeffrey Berkowitz, who is developing SkyRise Miami, a $430 million entertainment and observation tower... Murphy said Mastroianni and Berkowitz are friends and he gives them regular updates on the campaign. But he said he did not recall specific conversations with them about legislation he sponsored in 2014 to make the EB-5 program permanent. He also did not recall meeting with Liu Yu, a New York based lawyer who specializes in the field. The two appeared in a 2014 article on a Chinese-language website.

As if that were not enough, yesterday the Tampa Bay Times reported:
“Immediately following the BP oil spill, Congressman Murphy spent six months in the Gulf of Mexico leading cleanup efforts with his small business, Coastal Environmental Services,” reads his official House website.

But a review raises questions of whether Murphy exaggerated his role in the catastrophe... His campaign refuses to make public contracts he says he secured to clean up oil, or to characterize how much oil the company’s skimmers cleaned up and how much the firm earned.
Meanwhile, a source familiar with the records from Murphy’s first congressional race is pouring through the money trail of maxed-out donors to determine whether there are irregularities. (Patterns of low-income voters related to or employed by the candidate or candidate’s close associates and family can raise the issue of so-called “straw” donors.)

One wonders whether Reid could have benefited from a cursory Google search about Murphy before going out on a limb and going to war with Grayson. The primary is now turning into a lose-lose for the Democrats. If Grayson wins, Reid is humiliated and is stuck with a gadfly candidate. If Murphy wins, he’s a sitting duck for Republicans in the general election. Maybe Reid needs a new handpicked candidate to take out his first handpicked candidate.
Better idea: maybe Reid-- and, more important, Schumer-- should stop interfering with Democratic primaries outside of their own states. Contributors to the DSCC have been furious that Schumer and Reid have directed Jon Tester to spend immense sums against progressive Democrats and in favor of the kinds of corrupt conservatives Schumer and Reid prefer. Please consider contributing to Grayson's Senate campaign here:
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