The highly publicized arrest last week of U.S. Rep. John Mica's daughter for driving under the influence has spurred the Florida Republican's political opponents to renew their focus on connections between the congressman's work on Capitol Hill and his daughter's connection to a powerful Florida construction company.
Congressman Mica is the ranking Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. His daughter D'Anne Leigh Mica, 34, a public-relations executive, has a web site that identifies one of the largest transportation engineering and construction firms in the country, Florida-based PBS&J, as one of her clients.
How much money the company has paid the congressman's daughter is unclear. In an interview on Monday night, D'Anne Mica told ABC News that she never did any direct work for the national contractor, and the public relations job had nothing to do with her father.
"My father has no idea what I do in my business. And I have no idea what he does in his," she said.
The same is true, she said, about an Orlando area airport that hired her to promote its new commercial air service at the same time her father was helping secure federal aviation funds for the facility. The Orlando Sanford International Airport was also listed on her web site as a client.
Questions surrounding the congressman and his daughter come at a time when potential congressional conflicts are garnering close scrutiny. A Washington Post report out Monday focused on the legislative work of Rep. John D. Dingell Jr., a Michigan Democrat, and the lobbying by his wife, Debbie Dingell.
Rep. Mica's chief of staff said Monday there has never been any conflict between the congressman's Capitol Hill work and his daughter's small Florida public relations firm, Mica Strategic Communications.
The firm opened its doors in 2003, starting as a partnership between D'Anne Mica and a Jacksonville public relations consultant, Mica said. C.L. Conroy, a spokeswoman for PBS&J, said the contractor hired the Jacksonville firm three or four years ago, but not because Mica was in the Orlando office.
"We don't remember if we used her or not," Conroy said.
Rusty Roberts, Rep. Mica's chief of staff, said he can't figure out why D'Anne listed PBS&J as a client. Roberts initially told ABC News that D'Anne may have helped train company executives to speak effectively on television. But after a conversation with D'Anne, he called back to say she had never done any work for the firm at all.
"She says she has never represented PBS&J," Roberts said. "Why did she put it on her website? I don't know."
Asked why, D'Anne Mica said she added it several years ago because of her involvement in the earlier partnership.
Regardless, Roberts said, none of D'Anne Mica's public relations work has had any bearing on the congressman's pursuit of transportation projects for his district.