Politics

Vulnerable Rod Blum Under House Ethics Inquiry

Case was referred to panel by independent Office of Congressional Ethics

The House Ethics Committee has taken up a case against Rep. Rod Blum, R-Iowa, that was referred by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee has taken up an inquiry into Iowa Republican Rod Blum. The case was referred from the Office of Congressional Ethics on July 19, and the Ethics Committee will announce a course of action before Dec. 17, according to a release. 

Blum called the inquiry a “crusade of personal destruction” being waged against him by the “radical left.”

“In my case they scream ‘ETHICS VIOLATION!’ over a clerical error on a form. Once this minor error was brought to my attention, I immediately self-reported to the Ethics Committee and apologized,” Blum said in a statement. He said that between 30 percent and 50 percent of all reports reviewed by the Ethics Committee contain errors, data that Roll Call was not able to confirm.

In February, Associated Press reported that Blum violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his ownership role in a new company and that his top federal staffer was featured in a false testimonial promoting the company’s services. 

Blum was listed as a director of the Tin Moon Corp when it was incorporated in May 2016. 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. 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.”

Blum is considered one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents up for re-election. He will face Democratic state Rep. Abby Finkenauer in November. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-Up. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race in Blum’s district, 49-45 percent.

Bridget Bowman and Eric Garcia contributed to this report.

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