Ethics panel orders GOP lawmaker to repay family business $40K

Ethics panel orders GOP lawmaker to repay family business $40K
© Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee announced Friday that Rep. Markwayne MullinMarkwayne MullinOvernight Energy: Republicans eye top spot on Natural Resources panel | GOP lawmakers push back on bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners | Green groups sue Trump over California fracking plans Republicans push back on bipartisan bill to make greener refrigerators, air conditioners Lawmakers beat Capitol Police in Congressional Football Game MORE (R-Okla.) will have to repay $40,000 to his family plumbing business following a roughly five-year investigation.

Mullin was cleared of the majority of the allegations against him, which included violating House rules by receiving $600,000 in earned income from Mullin Plumbing West Division in 2014, appearing in advertisements for the company and serving on its board of directors.

In 2014, House rules banned members from taking in more than $27,000 a year in outside "earned income" 


The Ethics Committee said the Oklahoma Republican made a "good faith effort" to seek guidance in complying with House rules in regard to the business. 

"The Committee did determine that an accounting error led Representative Mullin to inadvertently fail to fully follow part of the Committee’s advice," the Ethics report reads.

"Committee staff advised Representative Mullin to transfer ownership of a company to his spouse. Representative Mullin transferred the ownership, but the company failed to terminate an automatic disbursement process. That mistake led Representative Mullin to personally receive $40,000 from the company in 2013, despite his lack of ownership."

Mullin said the report discourages those active in American business from seeking political office. 

“As the Ethics Committee report clearly states, I have followed the guidance they provided since my first term in office. Now, the rules have changed," Mullin said in a statement.

“The new guidance in this report only proves that you can no longer be a citizen legislator. You have to be a career politician to serve in Washington, D.C. If I don’t fit the bill for a citizen legislator as a plumber, rancher, and someone who had never held a political office before, then who does?”