The FBI is investigating an alleged illegal donation scheme involving a wealthy Saudi family that supports Democratic Florida Senate candidate Patrick Murphy.
The Hill has found no evidence that Murphy himself was involved in, or even aware of, the alleged scheme. The Murphy campaign declined to say whether the candidate is aware of the FBI probe, but the campaign said neither Murphy nor his campaign staff is being investigated.
The Murphy campaign noted that a conservative super PAC earlier this year filed a complaint on the issue that the FBI is looking into.
“This complaint was written by a Republican super PAC willing to say anything to elect Marco Rubio,” said Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp. “Neither Patrick nor any current or past employees have ever been contacted regarding this matter, and we are confident an examination of the facts will result in its dismissal.”
Murphy, 33, is running against Rubio, the incumbent Republican, in a race that could help decide which party controls the Senate in 2017. Rubio currently leads Murphy by an average of 5.6 percentage points, according to RealClearPolitics.
So, hey — a complete nothingburger, right? Just another example of Rethuglican smash-mouth tactics. Oh, wait —
The FBI investigation, however, relates to Murphy’s first run for the House in the 2012 campaign cycle. The allegation — originally submitted by a Republican super PAC run by a former top aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — is that Murphy’s high school friend and major political donor, Ibrahim Al-Rashid, coordinated a “straw donor” scheme to boost Murphy.
Al-Rashid didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. And Murphy’s campaign declined to say whether Murphy’s attorneys had discussed the FBI investigation with Al-Rashid’s attorney. A straw donor scheme occurs when a wealthy donor skirts legal limits on political donations by funneling money into campaigns using other people’s names.
For any charges to be backed in the Al-Rashid investigation, the FBI must prove that the person or people running the scheme reimbursed donors without their permission. It would also be illegal to agree to be the named donors using somebody else’s money.
One thing you have to say for Democrats at the national level — they keep the Federal Bureau of Investigation fully occupied.
By the way, this is who Patrick Murphy is.
Murphy’s rise is extraordinary because of how little he seems to have accomplished to get here.
A child of divorce, Murphy spent his formative years living with his father, Thomas P. Murphy, Jr., who built a multimillion dollar construction empire from scratch. Thomas Murphy made sure his son attended private schools including an elite prep academy in the Northeast, The Lawrenceville School. The school’s alumni include five Governors, three Congressmen, a Senator, two Pulitzer Prize winners and a Nobel Laureate. The school has also produced an array of business titans in its storied history.
Patrick Erin Murphy circa 2010, however, did not seem destined to join their ranks.
A star athlete in high school and college, injuries kept him from pursuing that further, opting instead for a more functional degree in business administration from the University of Miami. His time at UM was marred by a drunken brawl at a South Beach night club that left him with a mugshot and a black eye. After graduating in 2006, he joined Deloitte & Touche as an audit assistant. He did not meet the minimum requirements to become a Certified Public Accountant in Florida, opting instead to apply for a license in Colorado, even though he did not live or work there. He applied in Colorado because the requirements were lower.
Before gaining approval in Colorado, Murphy took the licensing exam multiple times before passing it. Even with a CPA license in Colorado, his opportunities in Florida were limited because his license was not valid in the Sunshine State.
He was 27 years old and living in a high-rise condo on Miami Beach.
No wonder he’s a Democrat.