Friday, July 01, 2016

Does Schumer Wish He Had Vetted Patrick Murphy Before He Recruited Him To Run For The Senate?


I'm not supposed to write about this but last weekend Beltway party boss Chuck Schumer schlepped down to Florida for a come-to-Jesus meeting with his-- and Wall Street's-- puppet candidate, Patrick Murphy. No one taped the meeting but Schumer was down there to tell Murphy to stop screwing up, meaning that he should stop exaggerating his nonexistent accomplishments. This means, in effect, that he wants Murphy-- who already doesn't ever debate his opponents-- to stop doing any public appearances where the media may ask him questions, which is basically where Murphy already is. When the Florida Dems had their annual meeting a week ago, Murphy ducked every caucus meeting. (There were a dozen of them.) Murphy sent a "surrogate" to at least one of them, even though he was in the building at the time, but they wouldn’t allow any surrogates to speak and people started wondering what Schumer is saddling the Florida Democratic Party with.

If Schumer imagined their meeting was going to stop the bleeding, though, he must have been very disappointed when the biggest local paper in Murphy's district ran another feature about Murphy's role in the EB-5 scandal, the scandal this blog has filed a complaint with the FEC about. Isadora Rangel reminded TCPalm readers that on Sept. 18, 2014, Murphy co-sponsored a bill to expand the controversial foreign investor program. That same day, a developer who's using the program to help fund a project in Miami gave $15,000 to a political committee affiliated with Murphy whose own company, Coastal Construction, is building the Miami Worldcenter. "Murphy's connections to developers who rely on the foreign investor program known as EB-5," she wrote, "have been called into question by his U.S. Senate race opponents, and the Democrat has had to do a lot of explaining lately. Seven developers who used EB-5, their family members and employees have given $309,000 since 2012 to Murphy and political committees that support him, a Treasure Coast Newspapers analysis found. That's more than previously reported by other media outlets. Murphy's family company, in which he owns stock, was involved at some point in at least two of those donors' projects."
Murphy's opponents accuse him of trying to benefit his family and donors when he signed onto two unsuccessful bills in September 2014 to make the EB-5 program permanent. The program allows foreigners to apply for a green card if they invest at least $500,000 and create at least 10 U.S. jobs, but there have been allegations of fraud and questions over whether it has been the economic driver its creators intended it to be.

GOP incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and the other U.S. House member running for his seat, Democrat Alan Grayson, did not receive money from the EB-5 developers who gave to Murphy, federal campaign finance records show.

"Voters deserve to know that Patrick's own company stands to make millions off this program that he's pushed while in office," said Grayson's campaign manager Michael Ceraso.

Murphy's campaign points out the EB-5 program has received broad bipartisan support in Congress and Grayson also was a co-sponsor of one of those extension bills. The immigration reform package Rubio spearheaded, which cleared the Senate but failed to become law in 2013, also would have made EB-5 permanent and the program has received praise from Republican leaders such as Gov. Rick Scott.

"This is an absurd smear from Alan Grayson and Republicans who also support this program," Murphy's campaign spokesman Joshua Karp wrote in an email.

Developers who benefit from EB-5 have given hundreds of thousands to Congress members. Some of the donors who gave to Murphy also gave to other co-sponsors of those two bills. Former U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, a Miami Democrat who introduced one of the bills, received the most. After leaving office in 2015, he was hired to work for an EB-5 regional center, which connects foreign investors with projects in need of capital in Florida.

Murphy told the Tampa Bay Times in April he didn't know whether his family company had done any EB-5 projects. Yet Coastal Construction's ties to the program and Murphy's ties to developers who benefit from it are inextricable.

Coastal Construction, in partnership with New York-based Tishman Construction, was picked as the Worldcenter's general contractor in February and held a groundbreaking ceremony for the retail, entertainment and housing complex in March.

Two weeks later, a company owned by the brother of Worldcenter developer Nitin Motwani gave $25,000 to a pro-Murphy super PAC. Dev Motwani also hosted a Murphy fundraiser in March 2013, according to the website Political Party Time, which tracks political fundraisers.

One of the directors of that pro-Murphy super PAC, Floridians for a Strong Middle Class, also is a registered lobbyist for SkyRise, whose developer Jeffrey Berkowitz is a Murphy family friend. Also a family friend: Murphy's top EB-5 donor, Nicholas Mastroianni II, a major player in the program and developer of Jupiter's Harbourside Place.

Coastal also served as a lead contractor for the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort, which initially sought EB-5 funding but ultimately relied on other financing.

Murphy's campaign said he has "no management role in Coastal Construction, and hasn't since taking office" and said donations from EB-5 developers had no input on his decision to support the program.

"This program is a bipartisan effort to create jobs in America and it is widely supported by both Democratic and Republican leaders, including President Obama," Karp wrote.

On top of that, the investigation into all the straw donors-- straw donors are illegal-- from the Saudi's maids and in-law's grandmother to cronies of Steve Israel's-- look who else came up: Mastroianni’s former fiancée, Jennifer Genco. Before she and Mastroianni got engaged towards the end of 2011, she had never made any political contributions. And then-- suddenly-- a year and a half worth of donations to all the corrupt Dems in Patrick's circle of corruption-- $32,700 to three of Congress' most corrupt and "for sale" New Dems: Patrick Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Joe Garcia. Genco, who lists herself as a "homemaker," is almost sure to have been given the money by Mastroianni to buy influence with these 3 notorious crooked congressmembers. Same technique Murphy has used to get the Al-Rashid family to have their associates and employees max out to Murphy's campaign. Did I mention that straw donations are illegal?

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At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Exit 135 said...

Off topic but it concerns Patrick Murphy.

There is an ecological disaster in Murphy's district. Toxic water from Lake Okeechobee is being backpumped into the St. Lucie River. The water has fouled the River and the Indian River Lagoon (the intercoastal). The incoming Senate President, Joe Negron, Gayle Harrell (ALEC), and Rubio swung by Stuart, Florida today for a look-see and a presser. Murphy did not show up.

The algae bloom in the River is THE most important issue in his district. If not the State.


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