Blum was listed as a director of the Tin Moon Corp when it was incorporated in May 2016, The Associated Press reported. One of the services the company offers is helping businesses rebound after Food and Drug Administration safety violations by burying warning letters under positive internet search results.
Blum’s office downplayed the lack of disclosure and said he would amend his financial disclosure form for 2016.
“This is a textbook case of making a mountain out of a molehill for political gain,” he said. “While I regret this administrative oversight, I will not concede to the narrative that this is some sort of scandal.”
After being questioned about Blum’s role, Tin Moon removed a photo of Blum wearing his congressional pin and changed his title from CEO to “majority shareholder.”
Similarly, the company removed a video testimony from someone named “John Ferland representing Digital Canal” who turned out to be Blum’s chief of staff and never worked for Digital Canal.
Democrats are targeting Iowa’s 1st District, which voted for Barack Obama in 2012. Blum first won his seat in 2014 and was serving his first term when Tin Moon was incorporated.
In 2016, Democrats tried tying Blum to Donald Trump, only to have it backfire. He won re-election comfortably.
Abby Finkenauer, a Democratic state legislator hoping to challenge Blum, called his ownership of the company “the swamp at its worst.”
Thomas Heckroth, who is also running to challenge Blum, told The Associated Press that the Republican “has clearly violated House ethics rules, deliberately misled consumers, and abused government resources.”
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Correction March 13, 10:21 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misstated the first name of Democratic candidate Thomas Heckroth.