Yesterday we learned that Patrick Murphy’s Super PAC received a $200,000 donation from his dad. No surprise there.
But the more interesting donation is the $50,000 from “230 East 63rd-6 Trust LLC.” That trust is associated with Nicholas Mastroianni II, who has also donated over $16,000 to Murphy’s campaigns (NOTE: Mastroianni’s family has also donated significant amounts to Murphy).
Mastroianni is, shall we say, a complicated individual. His shady business dealings and frequent run-ins with the law are well documented in this Fortune article: “The tangled past of the hottest money-raiser in America’s visa-for-sale program.”
Mastroianni is also a big player in the EB-5 visa program, which allows wealthy foreigners a path to U.S. citizenship by investing $500,000 or more in things like construction projects. Specifically, Mastroianni runs a “regional center,” which pools EB-5 investors and “receive[s] administrative fees from the investors and a percentage of what they raise from the developers; on large projects, that can quickly add up to millions.”
Here is why that is noteworthy: Patrick Murphy was one of only seven co-sponsors of the EB-5 Regional Center Extension Act of 2014, a bill that would ease restrictions on EB-5 regional centers like the one Mastroianni runs.
In other words, Murphy co-sponsored a bill that would directly benefit the business of someone who butters Patrick’s bread with major donations to his campaign and Super PAC.
Kind of makes you laugh that Patrick Murphy quoted this in a recent op-ed: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”