Congressman busted for failure to disclose business interest
In a recent story published in the Associated Press, Rep. Rod Blum was outed as having violated House ethics rules by “failing to disclose his ownership role in a new company.” According to the report, the company was described as “a mysterious outfit” that was being promoted by one of Blum’s staffers.
Even worse for the Congressman, the statements being made by his staff member promoting the business are being called “false.” Not the best look for the Congressman. The company in question, Tin Moon Corp., is an internet marketing corporation, where Blum is listed as one of two directors. Not necessarily a terrible lapse in judgment on the surface, until you read up a little bit on what, exactly, the company was offering as services. Among those listings was the promise, according to the AP, to “help companies cited for federal food and drug safety violations bury their Food and Drug Administration warning letters below positive internet search results…”
So, a sitting Congressman was a key officer in a business that was promising to “bury” food and drug safety violations. Blum, in a response to criticism, says he made a mistake, a simple “oversight” when he failed to disclose being an officer in the company on his personal financial disclosure form. Blum also tried to deflect blame for the issue, calling it politically motivated:
“This is a textbook case of making a mountain out of a molehill for political gain… While I regret this administrative oversight, I will not concede to the narrative that this is some sort of scandal.”
Since that statement was released, a photo of Blum wearing his congressional pin was also removed from the website, and the company description was altered to change his relationship to the company from “CEO” to “majority shareholder.” Critics have said this looks a lot like trying to hide the truth, especially since Tin Moon is operated out of the same office as Blum’s construction company, Digital Canal.
Another element removed from the website: a “testimonial” a man named John Ferland made on behalf of Tin Moon for its work for… Digital Canal. While, on the surface, that seems a little off, it gets worse. John Ferland doesn’t actually work for Digital Canal. He’s actually Blum’s chief of staff. In the now-removed testimonial, Ferland claims to be a “business owner” sharing his pleasure at a job well done. Critics say all of this was fabricated on Blum’s behalf.
Blum claims he has “never seen the website” and was not aware of the photo or the phony testimonial… or that either had been removed.