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Conservative watchdog group calls for FEC investigation into Patrick Murphy

A watchdog group is calling on the Federal Elections Commission investigate Rep. Patrick Murphy and the super PAC backing his U.S. Senate campaign.

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust on Friday filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission. The complaint says the commission should “immediately investigate whether Murphy is illegally enriching his super PAC to aid his Senate bid.”

The complaint states that Floridians for a Strong Middle Class, the super PAC backing Murphy, has been primarily funded by Murphy’s own company and a family member, which it says “appears to be unlawful coordination between a candidate and his super PAC.”

Floridians for a Strong Middle Class was founded on April 29, 2015. Since it was created, the group has raised $965,050. That sum includes a $300,000 contribution from Coastal Construction Group, which is owned by the Jupiter Democrat’s father, Thomas Murphy, Jr. Federal election records show the elder Murphy also gave the group $200,000.

“It appears that Murphy is using his own company to enrich his super PAC. Murphy is directly tied to the donation from Coastal Construction because he partly owns the company,” the group wrote in its filing. “It is indicative of coordination that Murphy’s super PAC has received a majority of funding from Murphy’s company and his father with whom he is financially tied.”

The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust is a nonprofit watchdog organization. The conservative group is “dedicated to promoting accountability, ethics and transparency in government.” The group regularly files complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service, and requests investigations by state and federal agencies.

In 2015, the group filed two complaints with the Office of Congressional Ethics, calling on the office to investigate Rep. Alan Grayson.

In a July 2015 complaint, the group asks the office to look into Grayson’s management of multiple hedge funds that used his name in the funds’ title. In October 2015, the group filed a complaint against Grayson for the misuse of taxpayer-funded resources.

Murphy and Grayson are vying to replace Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate. The two men will face off in the Aug. 30 primary.

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