A super PAC with ties to House Speaker Paul Ryan is attacking congressional candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell on the airwaves after the Miami Herald and Daily Beast reported that Mucarsel-Powell's husband Robert Powell did legal work for multiple companies with ties to Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, who has been accused of contract killings and shady financial dealings.
The radio spot from the Congressional Leadership Fund will begin airing today in English in the Miami media market. CLF seeks to elect Republicans to the House of Representatives, and opened up a field office in Rep. Carlos Curbelo's Miami-to-Key West district last year.
"South Florida voters have absolutely no reason to trust Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s judgment after learning her family has been making hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Ukrainian oligarch accused of ‘contract killings and fraudulent billion-dollar schemes,'" said CLF Communications Director Courtney Alexander. "Debbie and her husband have a lot of questions to answer after taking dirty foreign money from a shady oligarch. South Florida voters deserve better than Debbie’s bad judgment."
Mucarsel-Powell's campaign said that any implication that her husband had any direct connection to Kolomoisky is an "enormous stretch" and Robert Powell said in a statement that he never "worked for, represented, answered to, or received any payment from Mr. Kolomoisky at any time."
Powell took in almost $700,000 in income from a company Miami-based metals company connected to Kolomoisky in 2017 and 2016, according to Mucarsel-Powell's federal financial disclosure form. He has since left the company.
The race between Mucarsel-Powell and Curbelo will be one of the most expensive in the country this cycle as Democrats try to wrestle control of the lower chamber. Democrats are expected to make some gains nationwide but need to flip about two dozen seats to take control, and Curbelo's Miami-to-Key West district is the most Democratic-leaning district in the country represented by a Republican running for reelection this year.
Listen to the ad here.
Update: Mucarsel-Powell's campaign responds to the attack ad, referring to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart's attack ad on his Democratic opponent from earlier this week.
"Now we know Washington Republicans’ strategy in South Florida: attack strong women’s husbands because they can’t defend their own policies and voting records," Mucarsel-Powell spokesperson Melvin Félix said. "They have falsely attacked Mary Barzee Flores’ family and now they’re falsely attacking Debbie’s in an attempt to distract from the poor job they've done in Washington."