A super PAC supporting Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy raised about $1 million in the past three months -- including a $250,000 check from Murphy's multi-millionaire father.
The donation was reported in a quarterly financial disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission just before midnight on Saturday evening, the day of the reporting deadline. The pro-Murphy "Floridians for a Strong Middle Class" reported entering October with $764,000 in cash on hand to spend in the final weeks of the campaign.
Thomas Murphy Jr., chairman, CEO and founder of Miami-based Coastal Construction Group, has a long history of financially supporting his son's political efforts, starting with Murphy's first bid for Congress four years ago.
Including the most recent check to "Floridians for a Strong Middle Class" on Sept. 27, the elder Murphy has donated at least $1.75 million this cycle in support of Patrick Murphy's Senate bid against Republican incumbent Marco Rubio.
This summer, Thomas Murphy donated $1 million to the Democratic super PAC, Senate Majority PAC, which a few days later announced a $1 million ad buy benefiting the Jupiter congressman. Earlier this year, Murphy's father previously also gave $500,000 -- through himself and Coastal -- to "Floridians for a Strong Middle Class."
Super PACs can raise unlimited funds but are prohibited from coordinating with candidates' campaigns.
A conservative watchdog group last month filed a complaint with the FEC alleging Thomas Murphy's donations to political efforts supporting his son constitute illegal coordination between Murphy's U.S. Senate campaign and the super PACs his father has donated to. (Murphy's campaign called it a "frivolous and unfounded attack.") Murphy's former primary competitor, Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, made similar accusations earlier this year.
The $1 million quarterly haul for "Floridians for a Strong Middle Class" was its strongest fundraising period this cycle. The super PAC also reported spending about as much as it took in between July and September.
The group hasn't been noticeably influential in Florida's U.S. Senate race. It ran some advertising for Murphy over the summer, but almost half of its quarterly spending ($440,000) went to Senate Majority PAC -- which has been supporting Murphy but recently pulled millions of dollars in planned advertising for him.
By comparison, the pro-Rubio super PAC, "Florida First Project," raised almost $2.1 million between July and September and had about $500,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30, its most recent financial disclosure filing showed.
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