Daddy’s Cash Continues to Fuel Florida Democrat Patrick Murphy

Family business, relatives add to $1.3M in first quarter contributions

April 21, 2015

The family money that fueled Rep. Patrick Murphy (D., Fla.) in former campaigns and is responsible for his personal wealth is flowing into his Senate campaign early and often, according to his most recent campaign disclosure filing.

Murphy, who formally launched his campaign in March, reported $1.3 million in campaign contributions in the first quarter of 2015— $484,300 of which Murphy received from PACs.

Also contributing to the large haul are Patrick Murphy family donations and the Coastal Construction Group, which is owned by his father and serves as the family business.

The Coastal Construction Group was the single largest donor to Murphy’s campaigns in both 2012 ($76,750) and 2014 ($50,300), according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.

In March 2015 alone, Murphy’s father and other members of his family contributed $34,900 to his Senate campaign.

His father, Tom Murphy, Jr., has long been a big-dollar donor to his son’s political campaigns.

In 2012, Tom Murphy gave $550,000 to left-leaning Super PACs that bashed opponent Allen West. Murphy acted oblivious to his father’s support, telling a reporter asking about that donation that he had "no idea who’s behind PACs."

He has not been able to run away from his father’s support. Financial disclosure statements show that a gift from his father at least tripled Murphy’s net worth in just one year.

Murphy was making $98,050 annually at Coastal Construction and had a net worth of between $136,000 and $320,700 in 2011, but in 2012 received stock in the company from his father worth between $1 million and $5 million.

"My dad is the primary shareholder, along with my brothers and some other family members, so (it's) a family business," Murphy explained in 2013. "And, like many family businesses, my dad's getting older and gifting some of that to his children and relatives."

The campaign finance disclosure also shows that Murphy’s campaign is quickly spending its money early on in the campaign, already spending more than 25 percent of the money it has raised.

Spending at that pace so early in a campaign is not considered wise campaign strategy.

Justin Barasky, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, recently criticized the campaign for Ohio Democrat P.G. Sittenfeld for having a first-quarter "burn rate" of 20 percent of his campaign cash.

When asked about the spending rate, a Republican campaign operative agreed, saying the report "will certainly trouble his donors."

"It’s a very bad sign for a campaign to have such a high burn rate and it will certainly trouble his donors," the operative said. "It seems that Patrick is treating his campaign account the same way he treated Daddy’s credit card."

Murphy's campaign did not respond to a request for comment at press time.