FACT Calls for FEC Probe into Patrick Murphy’s Senate Campaign
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
FACT Says FL U.S. Senate Candidate Using Website to Illegally Coordinate with Super PACs
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a non-partisan ethics watchdog group, directed by former U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Whitaker, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today, requesting an investigation into Florida U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy and his campaign committee, Friends of Patrick Murphy, for their violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act, and FEC regulations.
According to the complaint, Murphy’s Senate campaign website uses obscure postings on its “media” page to instruct super PACs to run advertisements beneficial to his campaign. Specifically, Murphy’s campaign is using this page to post information they want conveyed in television ads, and even goes so far as to identify the specific media markets for those ads. Once the desired ad is run by outside groups, the information is then updated with new instructions.
For example, last month Murphy’s website stated, “‘Florida Democrats, especially those from Tampa to Orlando, deserve to know that President [Barack] Obama endorsed Patrick Murphy.’” After this posting, two super PACs, Senate Majority PAC and Floridians for a Strong Middle Class, responded to his request with identical ads.
What makes this case even more egregious is that Murphy is also unlawfully using his own family business, Coastal Construction Group, to fund Floridians for a Strong Middle Class. FACT filed an FEC complaint against Murphy for this violation back in May.
“Patrick Murphy is illegally and stealthily coordinating with super PACs supporting his candidacy because he wants to not only avoid spending millions of dollars on television ads, but also hide the fact that his campaign is being funded by his family’s money,” said Matthew Whitaker, Executive Director of the Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust.
FACT maintains this is an extreme violation because campaign finance laws clearly prohibit a candidate from requesting, either directly or indirectly, a super PAC to run certain ads or republish candidate campaign materials. Additionally, Murphy’s use of a public venue to coordinate with his super PAC is not a defense, as any request would violate the laws on contributions limits to candidates.
FACT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit: http://www.factdc.org/