Ethics committee finds GOP congressman may have violated federal law

The Office of Congressional Ethicals (OCE) has found that outgoing Rep. Rod Blum (R-Iowa) may have violated federal law in connection with a business he founded in 2016.

The OCE in a report released Monday said it has evidence that Blum misused House resources to support the company, Tin Moon, and allowed the company to engage in fraudulent business practices. 

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The findings in the report were collected in July. They were released on Monday along with a statement from the House Ethics Committee announcing that it will continue to investigate Blum's conduct. 

Blum was ousted by Democrat Abby Finkenauer in the midterm elections and the congressional investigation is unlikely to continue once he leaves office.

The OCE's board in July voted to adopt the report, which concluded Blum “may have violated federal law, state law, House rules, and standards of conduct." 

According to the report, Blum did not disclose the internet marketing business as an asset on a 2016 disclosure form. His ownership stake of Tin Moon was likely worth as much as $91,000, more than the $700 that Blum listed on an amended disclosure firm, The Washington Post noted

Blum allowed the company to use his official congressional photo on its website, which listed him as the company's CEO until an Associated Press report in February questioned his role in the company, according to the report. Tin Moon then changed his title 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,” the OCE report states.

The House Ethics Committee on Monday also released a response from Blum, in which he denied some of the report's claims.

"To be frank with you, I feel that the continuance of this matter in such fashion and the extreme OCE overreach is politically motivated as I am a top target of the Democrats," Blum wrote.