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CBS Miami: Patrick Murphy 'made claims that were misleading or outright false'


UPDATE: 12:40 p.m. June 23 -- Murphy's campaign has disputed several points raised in the CBS Miami report, including some referenced below -- that the campaign provided no contracts to the station and that Murphy had to take his CPA exam nine times. As DeFede mentioned in his report, he did see two contracts, and CBS Miami later amended its online story to clarify that Murphy took parts of his CPA exam nine times, not the full exam nine times. Full details here on the Murphy's rebuttal, which was released the morning after the first of CBS Miami's two-part investigation aired.

ORIGINAL STORY: 9:15 p.m. June 22 --

For several weeks now, various discrepancies and embellishments in Patrick Murphy's resume have come to light, as the Democratic congressman from Jupiter has become more and more of a front-runner in the race for Florida's U.S. Senate seat.

On Wednesday, Jim DeFede of Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4 Miami exposed a few more exaggerations in the first of a two-part scathing report into Murphy's professional credentials.

"For Murphy, the newfound role as the Democrat’s most eligible candidate is extraordinary; and not just because he’s only been a Democrat since 2011," DeFede reports. "Murphy’s rise is extraordinary because of how little he seems to have accomplished to get here."

Building off previous reporting by the Miami Herald, the Tampa Bay Times and Politico Florida, DeFede focused on Murphy's repeated claims that his experience as a certified public accountant and "small business owner" help make him qualified for higher office.

After the CBS Miami investigation, DeFede concluded Murphy "has, in some cases, exaggerated his experience and, in other instances, made claims that were misleading or outright false."

Among those:

-- Murphy has never been a licensed CPA in Florida; he's registered in Colorado and never practiced as a CPA in Florida. This, the Herald/Times has reported -- but DeFede found that Murphy had to take the exam nine times before he got licensed. And without a valid CPA license in Florida, Murphy could not have actually signed off on any audit work he did while at Deloitte & Touche, one expert told DeFede.

-- Murphy's claim that he was tasked with looking for "inefficiencies, waste and fraud" is also misleading, according to experts DeFede talked to. Murphy's title on his application for a CPA license listed him as "audit assistant," an entry-level position one professor told DeFede "is kind of like a gopher."

-- As to Murphy's claims that he was a "small business owner," that's not an accurate claim, either. He was vice president of Coastal Environmental Services, but that was a subsidiary of his father's Coastal Construction Company -- not Murphy's own business and certainly not one he started from scratch. DeFede found that "Murphy, with his father's help, bought a business that was already doing business here in the Gulf of Mexico."

-- Murphy's description of how he "led cleanup efforts" after the BP oil spill continues to evolve. First, from what he told the Times then the Herald/Times in May, and now to what he and his campaign told DeFede and CBS Miami. Most notably, DeFede found Coastal Environmental was "not awarded a single contract for clean-up in the Gulf."

-- DeFede said Murphy's campaign told him it would turn over financial records to prove that Coastal Environmental was successful and "turned a modest profit," but they didn't actually provide a financial statement. And of the documents CBS Miami could review, the Murphy campaign made the station agree not to report any dollar amounts or company names, DeFede said.

-- The four oil skimmers that Coastal Environmental bought in 2010, briefly used and still own now sit in storage in Louisiana and Alabama, DeFede reported, and the company is losing money every month because of it, he said. 

When faced in the past with questions about the discrepancies in his academic and professional resumes, Murphy has been dismissive. (Watch here.)

Watch Part 1 of DeFede's report above. Part 2 airs Thursday evening. Or you can read his full report online now.

*This post has been corrected to indicate the oil skimmers were briefly used.