Republicans are accusing Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy of violating congressional ethics rules and federal campaign finance laws by recently selling stock in his family's company to cover a last-minute campaign loan.
The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust -- a conservative watchdog group -- filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, and Seminole County Republican activist Kimberly Carroll also filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee publicized Carroll's complaint Thursday, as FACT provided the Herald/Times with a copy of its. Both complaints are dated Wednesday.
Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp dismissed the complaints as "desperate," politically motivated attacks. He called Carroll's complaint, in particular, not "worth the cost of a stamp, and it's an abuse of taxpayer dollars to ask taxpayer-paid employees to read it and throw it in the trash."
"Not only does this complaint get its facts wrong, it is filed by a long time supporter of Marco Rubio who has donated to him," Karp said in reference to the Republican incumbent. Karp did not respond to a request for which facts were incorrect in Carroll's complaint.
FEC filings show Carroll previously gave $255 to Rubio's former presidential campaign, for which she listed herself as "campaign manager" in contribution records.
Murphy's campaign has similarly dismissed as "frivolous and unfounded" previous complaints from FACT over Murphy's family connections and his campaign finances.
FACT and Carroll now claim, though, that Murphy executed what Carroll described as "a sham 'sale' " by claiming to have sold $1 million in stock in his family's Coastal Construction Group to use as collateral for the recent campaign loan. Murphy was gifted his stock in Coastal a few years ago by his father -- Coastal founder, CEO and chairman Tom Murphy Jr.
"This massive sale of stocks given to him by his father warrants investigation by the Office of Congressional Ethics ... as it appears to constitute a prohibited contribution in the name of another in violation of both federal campaign finance laws and House Ethics rules," Carroll writes in her complaint.