The Office of Congressional Ethics released its report on allegations against Iowa Republican Rod Blum Monday, while the House Ethics Committee announced that it is continuing its own inquiry, but likely not for long.
The House Ethics panel began the inquiry into Blum in July when it received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics and extended the inquiry in early September. In February, the 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.
“The Board finds that there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Blum misused official House resources to support a business endeavor,” says the OCE report.
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.”
“Based on the foregoing information, the Board finds that there is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Blum may have permitted Tin Moon to use or employ an unfair or deceptive trade practice in connection with Tin Moon’s solicitation of business clients,” says the OCE report.
Blum has previously called the omission of his Tin Moon holdings an “administrative oversight,” including in his most recent financial disclosure. He’s called the House Ethics Committee inquiry “crusade of personal destruction” being waged against him by the “radical left.”
Blum was one of the most vulnerable House Republicans heading into November’s midterm elections and was knocked off by Democrat Abby Finkenauer in Iowa’s 1st District.
The House Ethics Committee typically does not continue inquiries into members after they have left Congress, which means that the Blum probe is likely headed nowhere.