TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) — U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy is coming under fire for seeking a delay in the opening of a center that would help businesses hurt by a massive algae outbreak.
The administration of Republican Gov. Rick Scott made public on Wednesday an email that shows that an aide to Murphy asked the U.S. Small Business Administration “hold the announcement” of a business recovery center so Murphy could announce it at a press conference.
The Scott administration opposed the request and the business recovery center opened on Wednesday. It is offering loans to businesses located in counties hurt by the massive algae bloom that has shown up in rivers, streams and beaches.
So far, 54 businesses have contacted the state about algae-related economic damages. All those businesses are involved in industries such as fishing, boating, restaurants and retail.
Half of the complaints have come from businesses in Martin County, where the outcry about the algae has been the loudest. Another 11 businesses have reported impacts in St. Lucie County and 12 are from Lee County.
Murphy is seeking the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.
Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokesperson for Rubio, released a statement following the reports about Murphy.
“No one should be playing politics with Florida’s algae crisis. This is a long-term problem that has devastating impacts for both Florida’s ecology and economy, and Floridians deserve better. Finding a solution to the algae problem has been a priority for Marco, and continues to be.”
The Tampa Bay Times first reported the contents of the email.
Murphy has been under a microscope since CBS4’s Jim DeFede’s investigative piece about the young U.S. representative aired in late June.
DeFede traveled to Louisiana where he narrowed his investigation on the congressman’s business claims about cleaning up the BP Oil spill.
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