Rep. Patrick Murphy on Wednesday dismissed as "nonsense and distractions" claims that his staff leaked information on an ethics probe of fellow Florida Democratic congressman and Senate campaign rival Alan Grayson.
Murphy also denied that his campaign paid for developing the initial request for the Office of Congressional Ethics to review Grayson’s financial dealings, and said Grayson was unfit to serve.
Grayson has charged that Murphy's campaign was behind the probe that has found "substantial reason to believe" the three-term lawmaker may have violated House ethics rules and possibly federal law, according to a report released on Tuesday by OCE, an independent board.
Among other things, the OCE alleged that Grayson -- while serving in Congress -- may have improperly allowed the use of his name by entities connected to his hedge fund, received compensation from a management company carrying his name, and omitted information related to his assets and income from his financial disclosure statements.
The House Ethics Committee has agreed to continue the investigation.
An attorney for Grayson has asked the Ethics Committee to drop the allegations and charged that confidentially breaches occurred during the investigation between the OCE and Murphy’s staff.
In a conference call with reporters, Murphy said Grayson was attempting to “bully and bluster his way out of this."
“It’s ridiculous,” Murphy said. “The truth hurts. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.”
Grayson has said he's done nothing wrong.
The Office of Congressional Ethics had no comment.
Grayson and Murphy are both running in the Democratic primary to succeed Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. The Florida Senate seat is one of three classified as a "pure toss up" by the Rothenberg and Gonzales Political Report. Contact Rahman at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @remawriter. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or Android.