October 29, 2015

Bizarre excess of donations to Alan Grayson resulted from software glitch


Jacqueline Kirley vaguely remembered the name Alan Grayson. The retired Chicago teacher had no reason to know or care until this week that the Orlando congressman is running to represent Florida in the U.S. Senate in a competitive race to replace Marco Rubio.

But because of a fluke software glitch, Kirley likely won’t ever forget Grayson again.

Her name appeared nearly 2,300 times in the Democrat’s most recent campaign finance report, filed with the Federal Election Commission earlier this month. The lengthy disclosure claimed Kirley gave Grayson altogether $37,600 in varying increments — $1, $5, $20.16, $50, $100, and so on — all on July 15, according to a Herald/Times analysis of the quarterly report.

It’s not uncommon for the same donor to contribute more than once to a campaign, but 2,300 times — on the same day, no less — is unrealistically frequent.

Kirley said she didn’t know of the reported contributions in her name until a Herald/Times reporter called her Wednesday to ask her about what Grayson’s campaign ultimately explained was a snafu after upgrading its reporting software.

“It was a little harder to spot because we have so many small-number donations,” Grayson spokesman Kevin Franck said. “It just seems to be a very weird, weird software glitch.”

More here.

Photo credit: Walter Michot wmichot@miamiherald.com

October 28, 2015

Alan Grayson joins calls for Marco Rubio's resignation



U.S. Senate candidate Alan Grayson, a Democratic congressman from Orlando, says Marco Rubio should resign his seat in the U.S. Senate since he isn't doing the job Floridians elected him to and is, instead, "conducting a vanity campaign for president."

"Marco Rubio has already quit on the people of Florida. His resignation simply makes that official. And when he does, I will say good riddance," Grayson said in a statement this afternoon.

Rubio, disenchanted with the Senate, has explained his poor attendance and voting record by saying he's focused on running for president, where he can make the Senate more effective.

This morning, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel's editorial board called on Rubio to resign, and Grayson echoed that sentiment.

“If Senator Rubio does not want to do his job of representing Florida in the Senate, then he should quit," said Grayson, who's seeking to replace Rubio in 2016.

"After missing more votes than any other senator this year, Rubio is M.I.A., in dereliction of duty, Grayson said. "Even before he announced his Presidential campaign, Marco Rubio had the worst attendance record in the Senate. Sen. Feinstein, who is 82 years old, missed fewer votes than Rubio. Sen. Kirk, who suffered a devastating stoke, missed fewer votes than Rubio."

"Floridians have the reasonable expectation that Marco Rubio should show up to work, earn his pay of $14,500 each month, and do his job," Grayson continued. "Instead of doing his job, however, Marco is conducting a vanity campaign for president.  He has missed as many as half of his votes. What kind of employee misses half of his work days, and then expects a promotion?"

Grayson faces a competitive Democratic primary next year against fellow U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter.

Photo credit: AP

October 15, 2015

Patrick Murphy raised $1.5M in past three months



The U.S. Senate campaign for Patrick Murphy says the Jupiter congressman raised over $1.5 million in the past three months.

The haul gives Murphy nearly $3.5 million in cash on hand, as of Sept. 30, to spend in the race to replace Marco Rubio, the campaign said.

Fundraising totals for U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando -- Murphy's main opponent in the Democratic primary -- were not immediately available Thursday morning, nor were those for North Palm Beach attorney Pam Keith, who is also competing in the party primary.

Quarterly reports to the Federal Election Commission are due to the agency today. The reports are not yet available online.

Murphy said in a statement he's "humbled" by the support he's received -- which amounts to $4.2 million in money raised since January. The campaign said the recent fundraising haul gives Murphy another boost in confidence.

“This kind of support is essential to waging an effective campaign that reaches every single Florida voter. I’m more confident than ever that our campaign will have the resources to win this race — both the primary and the general election,” campaign manager Josh Wolf said.

*This post will be updated as more information from Grayson's and Keith's campaigns becomes available.*

Photo credit: Walt Michot, Miami Herald / Tampa Bay Times

October 07, 2015

Patrick Murphy jabs Alan Grayson with first web ad


U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, of Jupiter, took a swipe at his main opponent in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate by launching his first web ad today.

In the 45-second bit, Murphy's campaign juxtaposes two contradictory statements from U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, of Orlando, as a means to illustrate what appears to be double-speak on Grayson's part.

"Home ownership is, in fact, the American dream. There's no other way to put it," a video clip shows Grayson telling the Florida Realtors Conference in late August.

The ad follows with an audio clip of Grayson a month later telling the Democratic Women's Caucus of Florida: "The American dream is not the ability to buy a home. Despite what the National Association of Realtors may want you to think."

Grayson launched his first web ad about six weeks ago, attacking Murphy's legislative record. That video appears to no longer be available.

Grayson and Murphy are battling for the party nomination in the race for Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate seat. North Palm Beach attorney Pam Keith is also running.

October 02, 2015

Alan Grayson blasts Patrick Murphy for previously supporting Benghazi probe



Florida Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy's support last year for a special House investigation into Benghazi proves he's only "feigning to be a Democrat" and it could make him a "major embarrassment" to Hillary Clinton if she's chosen as the party's presidential nominee, Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said this morning in a conference call with reporters.

But Murphy's campaign says Grayson is only "further politicizing" a tragedy because he and Murphy are at odds in the Democratic primary race for Florida's U.S. Senate seat.

Grayson, a liberal from Orlando, continues to paint the more-moderate Murphy, of Jupiter, as a Republican in Democratic clothing. Grayson again lambasted Murphy for being one of seven Democrats -- only three of whom are still in office -- who voted with House Republicans last year to launch the Benghazi investigation. He accused Murphy of contributing to a "political witch hunt that could dramatically affect the presidential election."

But while Grayson chastised Murphy for making political life worse for Clinton, Grayson himself hasn't endorsed her for president as Murphy has. Grayson told reporters Friday he's "keeping his options open," but "he's on the verge of making" an endorsement.

Continue reading "Alan Grayson blasts Patrick Murphy for previously supporting Benghazi probe" »

September 29, 2015

As federal shutdown looms, Grayson touts bill to end 'self-destructive political ritual'


With another federal government shutdown possible this week because of disagreements in federal funding for Planned Parenthood, Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a U.S. Senate candidate from Orlando, released a video statement to talk about a bill he introduced earlier this year that would stop government shutdowns altogether.

Calling shutdowns "a dangerous and self-destructive political ritual," Grayson said his bill would avert such crises by "applying existing budget levels to all federal agencies until a new law is passed creating new ones."

"My bill, H.R. 1776, is our declaration of independence from the tyranny of government shutdowns, both actual and threatened," Grayson said.

The bill has just one co-sponsor, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright. It was referred to the House Appropriations Committee in April, where it still awaits a hearing. GovTrack.us gives the bill a 7 percent chance at being enacted.

Grayson is running against U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, and North Palm Beach attorney Pam Keith in next year's August Democratic primary in the race to fill Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate seat.

Watch Grayson's video message in full:



September 28, 2015

Most Dems in Florida Legislature endorse Patrick Murphy for U.S. Senate, campaign says


Five more Democratic state lawmakers are getting behind U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, in the party's primary race for Marco Rubio's U.S. Senate seat.

Murphy's campaign announced the endorsements today from Amanda Murphy of New Port Richey, Cynthia Stafford of Miami, Richard Stark of Weston and Mia Jones and Reggie Fullwood, both of Jacksonville.

In statements provided by Murphy's campaign, the state legislators praised Murphy as "the kind of fresh, new leader we need."

The added support gives Murphy the backing of almost 60 percent of the 53 Democrats in the Florida Legislature: seven in the Senate and 24 in the House, his campaign said.

Murphy, who represents the Treasure Coast and part of Palm Beach County, is poised to have a showdown with fellow U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, and North Palm Beach attorney Pam Keith in next year's August primary.

August 26, 2015

Alan Grayson boasts of his bill-passing record in web ad

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson is out with a new ad in the U.S. Senate race -- this time boasting about his own legislative record.

“In the past two years in Congress, I have written more bills, passed more amendments on the floor of the house and enacted more of my bills into law than any other member of the House.”


In July, PolitiFact Florida fact-checked the same claim by Grayson when he stated it in his announcement video.

It’s true that Grayson is No. 1 in writing bills and resolutions but Grayson omits some caveats. The 10 bills he sponsored ended up passing as part of other bills, not as stand-alone measures. Of those 10, all but one ultimately landed in the same bill that passed with a fairly wide margin. He had 21 amendments pass, largely on voice votes, which suggests they were not controversial matters. Congressional experts say that the sheer number of bills or amendments written and passed doesn’t tell the full story of a member’s accomplishments.

PolitiFact Florida rated his claim Mostly True.

The Orlando Democrat is battling U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter in the primary for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s seat.

Grayson released his first online ad attacking Murphy’s legislative record earlier this week -- leading to push back from Murphy’s campaign.

Grayson’s campaign wouldn’t divulge details about the ad buy.

July 27, 2015

Group attacks David Jolly for refusing to cut money for botanical garden in D.C.

U.S. Rep. David Jolly’s Senate campaign was only hours old when he began taking fire from his fellow conservatives.

The Club for Growth, a political action committee backing Jolly’s GOP primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, said that Jolly may have only been in office for 16 months, but during that time he "racked up a terrible record on fiscal issues."

"Jolly is so addicted to big government, he couldn’t even muster up the courage to cut spending for a national greenhouse in D.C.," the PAC said in a statement emailed on the afternoon of July 20, 2015, the same day Jolly announced that he would be vying for Marco Rubio’s soon-to-be-open Senate seat.

Jolly has only been in office since March 2014, after winning a special election for the late C.W. "Bill" Young’s 13th congressional district seat. Given such a short tenure, we wondered what action was so wasteful it would warrant Club for Growth’s assertion that Jolly had squandered too many greenbacks on a greenhouse.

See what Joshua Gillin of PolitiFact Florida found.

July 23, 2015

Alan Grayson fundraises off fictional Allen West candidacy

Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, that tea partier Democrats love to hate, is the inspiration behind two of U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson’s fundraising pleas in his U.S. Senate race.

“At 3:23 am this morning, there was a tremor in the Force. No, it was not the planet Alderaan being destroyed – that doesn’t happen until Episode IV. The tremor was caused by another e-mail that landed in my inbox touting Allen West for Senate,” states an email by Grayson who is running against a fellow Democrat in the House, Patrick Murphy. “This is the same Allen West who once called me “despicable,” “demeaning” and “disgusting” – the Triple Crown of insults starting with the letter “D”. Perhaps West was angling for the Nobel Prize in Literature, if it were awarded by Sesame Street.”

This is based on a Denver-based group that is fundraising for West for the Senate in Florida, Politico reported. But West, who lost to Murphy in 2012, isn’t running in Florida -- he moved to Texas last year to become the CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

“No, he is absolutely not running,” Catherine Daniell, a spokesperson at the center told the Miami Herald. “He lives in Texas now. The “fundraising” effort is a scam, which he says is disgusting.”

But that hasn’t stopped Grayson from citing his name to drum up dollars.

“West thinks that I’m a Marxist. (Karl, not Groucho.) How do I know that? Because he said so,” Grayson wrote in a fundraising email.

At a town hall meeting in 2012, West said that about 78 to 81 House Democrats “are members of the Communist Party. ... It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”

Grayson along with some other Florida Democrats are members of that caucus.

"Trust me -- if a member of Congress applied to join the Communist Party we would know about it," Libero Della Piana, vice president of the Communist Party USA told PolitiFact Florida at the time. "It would set up some red flags -- pardon the pun."

It raised red flags for PolitiFact Florida too -- earning the claim a rating of Pants on Fire