Super PAC Spent $1 Million on Patrick Murphy Ads After Getting $1 Million From His Dad

Murphy's father is also campaign's top contributor

August 23, 2016

Just two days before a liberal Super PAC announced that it would spend $1 million on television ads supporting Patrick Murphy it received a $1 million check from Murphy's father.

Thomas Murphy Jr., the owner of a 97-foot luxury yacht named Cocktails that is often used by the younger Murphy during holiday weekends, cut a million dollar check to Senate Majority PAC in the same week that it announced that it would spend that exact amount of money in support of his son, according to a weekend FEC filing.

Patrick Murphy has long been reliant on his father's financial success in both his political and business careers. Thomas Murphy was the single largest donor to his son's campaign when he was first elected to Congress in 2012 and then again in 2014. He is also the top contributor to the current Senate campaign.

Thomas Murphy has funded other Super PACs already this cycle. He contributed hundreds of thousands through his company Coastal Construction to a Super PAC called Floridians for a Strong Middle Class that is devoted to supporting Murphy's Senate campaign.

Murphy earned a hefty $98,050 a year working at Coastal Construction, his father's company, in the years leading up to his 2012 run for Congress. He was hired during a downturn in the economy that forced Coastal Construction to lay off hundreds of workers as it went months without securing a contract.

Murphy would use his years at Coastal Construction to deem himself a "small business owner," a title that he used to launch his political career and also a title that he did not deserve, according to an in-depth investigation by CBS 4.

Murphy's few years of work at Coastal are not, however, the source of his wealth. Murphy received between $1 million and $5 million worth of stock in Coastal Construction as a gift from his father in 2012, which more than tripled the political hopeful's net worth.

Super PACs such as Senate Majority PAC are able to spend and receive unlimited amounts of money but are forbidden from communicating with campaigns.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) made a formal complaint to the FEC regarding the hundreds of thousands that Coastal Construction contributed to Floridians for a Strong Middle Class. The group argued that since Murphy was gifted stock in the company, he was essentially "using his own company to enrich his Super PAC."

"It is simply unrealistic to believe that Murphy's business and his father are funding the Super PAC without coordinating in any way with Murphy or the campaign," wrote FACT in its complaint.

Patrick Murphy says he speaks with his father "at least once a day, maybe twice a day." He has also admitted that he "never would have run" for Congress if it wasn't for his father's business.

When the Washington Free Beacon reported that Murphy was spending time on a yacht in Nantucket during his campaign, it was contacted by a Coastal Construction executive who defended Murphy's vacation habits.

"What’s so wrong about taking the Fourth of July weekend off?" wrote company vice chairman Daniel Whiteman from his Coastal Construction email address.