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Rep. Markwayne Mullin Faces Ethics Review

markwayne_mullinOklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin is dealing with the same problem that beset Senator Tom Coburn as both as Senator and during his time in the House, that being an ethics review stemming from his involvement in his business back here in Oklahoma.  For those not familiar with Rep. Mullin, he is the owner of Mullin Plumbing, a very successful business here in Oklahoma.  He took it over from his father at age 20 and turned a company with six employees and half a million in debt into a statewide business employing more than one hundred people.  He also owns other businesses, including Mullin Properties, Mullin Services and Mullin Farms.  Rep. Mullin has done exceptionally well in the business world and has achieved the success every small business owner dreams about – a growing company employing many people, with the financial security that success brings.  And now he is in trouble with the House Ethics Committee for not properly cutting ties to the businesses he has built and owns.

NewsOK – Freshman U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, facing an ethics review of his continued involvement with the plumbing company he has operated for 17 years, says he sought and followed the advice of House legal experts to ensure he didn’t run afoul of the rules.

And Mullin, a Republican whose district includes much of eastern Oklahoma, said the stringent rules and the scrutiny he’s under show how hard it is to serve in Congress and remain tethered to the outside world.

“If you can’t be a plumber, what can you do — other than be a career politician?” Mullin said in an interview.

The House Ethics Committee is expected to announce Monday that it will continue examining Mullin’s financial ties to Mullin Plumbing Co. and related entities.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, an outside advisory board that does not include any members of Congress, investigated Mullin’s activity — after receiving an anonymous tip — and recommended the House Ethics Committee review the allegations.

The ethics office reported:

•Mullin continued making commercials for Mullin Plumbing last year, endorsements that might have violated House rules:

•Mullin received more than $600,000 in income in 2013 from his companies; since the cap on outside earned income is $26,955, Mullin may have violated federal law and House rules;

•Mullin received compensation for serving as an officer or board member of his companies, which may have violated House rules.

While I can agree with very limited restrictions on business activities of sitting Congressmen and women, it seems that the current federal laws, House rules and Senate rules make it exceptionally difficult for someone to be elected to Congress, but still control their business back home; the business they should be returning to if the concept of citizen-legislator was more common than it is.  Dr. Coburn and Rep. Mullin both stated before being elected that they would limit themselves to three terms in the House.  Dr. Coburn kept that promise.  People like Dr. Coburn and Rep. Mullin should not be restricted on how they run their business back home or how much income they receive from it.  If men and women who run for Congress are not allowed to maintain control of their businesses, to my mind that is damaging the incentive to run for office and be a citizen-legislator instead of a career politician like most of the people in Congress.  Rep. Mullin should be applauded for his desire to maintain his business here at home and his intent to return to it instead of retiring from Congress after spending a few decades there. 

When Mullin ran for Congress in 2012 his campaign slogan was “A rancher. A businessman. Not a politician.”  And now the Ethics Committee is telling him that’s not good enough.  Their rules and very lucrative retirement plans seem designed to push those in Congress toward making a career of being a politician.  I have always believed that no elected office should ever have a pension.  Elected offices are not supposed to be careers.  Kudos to Rep. Mullin for not wanting a political career.  If there were more people like him in Congress – people who owned businesses back home that were affected by the very laws they pass – our country would be in much better shape than it currently is. 

2 comments to Rep. Markwayne Mullin Faces Ethics Review

  • It would seem the powers that be in Congress are making it as hard as possible for the people we elect to serve in that esteemed body to fulfill the role of citizen legislator.

    In retrospect, I should have written about this myself. Markwayne Mullin is my Representative and I believe he is doing a good job. He is doing exactly what he said he would do and has no intention of becoming a career politician. Even if I happen to disagree with him on some of the issues, that attitude is to be commended.

    • I do disagree with him on some issues and he is not as conservative as I would prefer, but I have great respect for his attitude about being a legislator. It’s a pity that others like Frank Lucas (running for an 11th term) don’t share his views.

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