Beleaguered Rep. Alan Grayson answers tough questions at Tampa luncheon

Rep. Alan Grayson, AP file photo

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Congressman Alan Grayson is firing back at lawmakers. Grayson is accusing them of smearing his name while he fights for Florida’s open US Senate seat.

At a Tiger Bay Club luncheon Friday, Grayson fielded questions from voters who weren’t holding back. “I wanted to know what you meant when you told potential investors that the best time to invest is when there are blood in the streets,” one Tiger Bay club member said.

Another voter asked, “I’d like to know how you plan to be a successful candidate with your financial baggage and I’m talking about the Cayman Islands bank account and the $17 million you lost in a scheme.”

The congressman, attorney Pam Keith and fellow US Representative Patrick Murphy are running for the Democratic nomination for the senate seat vacated by presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

Grayson told these voters he’s being targeted. “There is a smear campaign going on against me right now because I’m ahead in the polls,” he said. “All these people who are bearing false witness against me, from me, they get the one-finger salute.”

That one-finger salute is in response to US Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid calling on Grayson to drop out of the primary race. Reid said Grayson used his position to promote his hedge fund.

On Friday Murphy said Grayson’s family profited from investments made off a mining company in Africa that promotes slave labor. He called on Grayson to donate that money.

“It’s not true. But if we’re going to start giving money back, maybe Patrick should give back the $2.5 million he got from Wall Street banks exchange for his voting card,” Grayson said.

Murphy’s campaign manager Josh Wolf responded. “For Alan Grayson to levy attacks on him, when every day, it seems another investigative journalist finds something truly horrifying about him, is really disappointing,” Wolf said in a phone interview.

Grayson said politicians should be focused on the issues.

The primary is August 20.

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