April 8, 2016

Privileged Patrick Murphy Fails At Spinning His Shady Family Business

A new McClatchy report reveals that scandal-plagued Alan Grayson isn’t the only Florida Democratic senate candidate with serious ethics issues.

The report details an apparent quid-pro-quo in which Patrick Murphy pushed for legislation that would directly benefit the family business that has made him a multi-millionaire:

The Senate Leadership Fund said in February that Murphy had pushed legislation to strengthen the federal EB-5 visa program used by developers to gain foreign investment and bring workers from other countries to the United States. It said the measure would benefit a company, Coastal Construction, owned by Murphy’s father in which the congressman holds a large stake.

That company, the Senate Leadership Fund said, is one of two main contractors on a mega-project called SkyRise Miami, whose developer, Jeffrey Berkowitz, is a major employer of EB-5 workers and wants to use them to help build his planned 1,000-foot-high tower overlooking Biscayne Bay.

The bill died in the last session of Congress, but it remains an issue. Murphy denied that his support for the measure had anything to do with the family business.

“I’m not actively involved in the Coastal Construction family business,” Murphy said. “As far as I know, they have not done any projects having to do with EB-5” workers.

So, what’s wrong with Murphy’s spin?

Um, first of all, he claims his family company hasn’t had anything to do with EB-5 workers. The problem? There’s no such thing as EB-5 workers.

The program gives green cards to wealthy foreigners in exchange for investing in American business ventures.

USCIS specifies that the visas are for foreigners who invest or “plan to create or preserve” 10 jobs for U.S workers. An article about the SkyRise project further spells out that green cards would be offered to Chinese nationals in exchange for investment dollars.

So Murphy’s excuse that his company’s project didn’t have anything to do with EB-5 workers is completely meaningless.

Then there’s the more mysterious question about what Murphy was doing meeting with a Chinese immigration official to discuss – according to a Chinese news report unearthed and translated by the Senate Leadership Fund – “the interests of the protection of EB-5 investors.”

If Murphy’s efforts to expand the visa program truly has nothing to do with his family’s business interests, then surely he’ll want to disclose what was discussed – and promised – during his private powwow with a Chinese official.