Democrats are eyeing an Iowa seat held by incumbent Rod Blum and their chances at taking that seat in November just increased. Blum’s seat, according to Roll Call, is the most vulnerable seat in America for the Republican party and a new ethics probe isn’t likely to help his chances of maintaining the job.
The Des Moines Register is reporting that a U.S. House ethics committee has announced plans to investigate Rep. Blum for failing to disclose his private business on a required election form.
At this time the Committee on Ethics says it has determined it will “extend” a “matter” about Blum. The Committee didn’t say exactly what that “matter” is but Blum jumped at the chance to say it was a simple “clerical error.”
So What’s The Big Deal?
A “clerical error” might sound boring but the truth is far more interesting. In February, the Associated Press noted that Blum held a director role at Tin Moon Corp. That company’s goal is to “help companies cited for federal food and drug safety violations bury their Food and Drug Administration warning letters below positive internet search results.”
To be clear, the company is an online reputation management company in charge of ensuring that company’s who violated federal law are not easily found by individuals searching for negative information or reviews about those companies.
And then it gets worse…
After news of the investigation broke, Blum’s company scrambled to bury video testimonies from individuals they helped.
One of those videos featured “John Ferland representing Digital Canal.” That would be the same individual who serves as chief of staff in Blum’s congressional office. Ferland also never worked for Digital Canal. He said the company was “saving us thousands of dollars every month, keeping our traffic and leads higher.” Ferland then had this to say about Tin Moon: “From one business owner to another, I suggest you take a look at Tin Moon.”
Blum is claiming ignorance and wants voters to believe he had no idea the video testimonial existed in the first place.
Further, MSNBC notes that Blum claimed the business wasn’t operating in 2016 when he decided to run for election. The video that was recently deleted dated back to September 2016. The Associated Press even noted that another video was uploaded by a YouTube user named “rodblum” two weeks prior to the recently deleted video.
With the November mid-terms right around the corner, it seems unlikely that a sitting congressman who is perpetrating a fraud on the American people will be re-elected — but anything is possible these days.
A recent poll finds Democrat Abby Finkenauer, a state representative from Dubuque leading U.S. Rep. Rod Blum by a margin of 43 percent to 38 percent. Twelve percent of voters in that poll are still undecided.
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James Kosur is the former Editor-In-Chief and co-founder of Hill Reporter. He recently served as an editor for Business Insider and various other publications. James and his partners sold Hill Reporter to a new owner in July 2019.