If liberal U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson was counting on progressive backing for a possible Senate bid, ethical concerns cost him at least one important local supporter.
Today, state Sen. Eleanor Sobel endorsed U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy‘s bid for the U.S. Senate, citing the latest revelations about Grayson as an important tipping point in her decision.
“I cannot, in good conscience, sit back and watch Alan Grayson continue embarrassing my party and my state,” said Sobel. “His profane tirades were one thing, but his recently uncovered ethical lapses regarding a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands was simply the last straw.”
The nonprofit watchdog organization Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust (FACT) filed a complaint on Monday with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Grayson regarding hedge funds he formed that bear his name, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
According to FACT, three funds overseen by the Orlando Democrat — Delaware-based Grayson Fund L.P., Cayman Islands-based funds Grayson Master Fund (Cayman) Ltd. and Grayson Fund (Cayman) Ltd. — violate House ethics rules preventing members from using elected posts for monetary gain.
“This is not simply a technical violation, but rather a violation that implicates fundamental goals of the ethics rules—to ensure that members fulfill the public trust,” says the complaint letter from FACT director Matthew Whitaker, first reported by Matt Dixon for POLITICO. The domestic fund has $13.2 million in sales.
“I can recall Mr. Grayson chastising others for the very same activity,” Sobel continued, “an activity that he now appears to have engaged in for his own personal profiteering. Clearly he is the exact opposite of the progressive hero he claims to be and it would be a detriment to Democrats to let him represent our party at any level.”
Sobel added: “I am proud to endorse Patrick Murphy in this race. He will be a U.S. senator that Democrats – and indeed all Floridians – can be proud of. From his dedication to protecting Florida’s seniors to his staunch support of the environment, his record of accomplishment and willingness to work with others to get things done will be a true asset in Washington.”
This is not the first time that Sobel, a member of Florida’s Progressive Democratic Caucus, has publicly called out Grayson for conduct unbecoming a member of Congress. After Grayson launched a foul-mouthed tirade in May over questions about his Cayman investments, Sobel told George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post: “His choice of words and his apparent uncontrolled anger are simply unacceptable and make him unqualified to serve in the United States Senate.”