Iowa Congressman Rod Blum broke House ethics rules by not disclosing his role in a shady company called Tin Moon Corp., which offers seach engine optimization and “reputation management” services like helping companies bury negative search engine results about their Food and Drug Administration violations, according to Associated Press reporter Ryan Foley’s latest scoop this week.
After Blum was contacted by the AP, the Tin Moon website was edited to replace a photo of him donning his congressional pin and change his position to majority shareholder from CEO. The website also took down a video of Blum’s chief of staff, John Ferland, fronting as a satisfied customer with Digital Canal, a company he reportedly never actually worked for. Both Tin Moon and Digital Canal have Dubuque addresses.
Blum failed to list his ownership in the company on his 2016 personal financial disclosure — a violation of House ethics rules. “I have never seen the website,” he claimed to the AP.
In a follow-up report, Foley revealed that despite Blum’s claim that Tin Moon wasn’t “doing business” that year, the company’s advertising indicated that it was and that it now has “11,000 satisfied clients.”
After the initial report broke, Blum issued a statement dismissing the news as “yet another desperate, Democrat [sic] diversion originated from the career politicians in Washington D.C. doing everything they can to make sure Nancy Pelosi is Speaker again.”
— Congressman Rod Blum (@RepRodBlum) February 21, 2018
Ryan Foley is a journalist based in Iowa City.