Rod Blum Calls Expose of His Shady Business a “Beautiful Assassination Attempt”


Last month, after AP reporter Ryan Foley broke the news that Republican Congressman Rod Blum appeared to have violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his ownership role in a shady online “reputation management” company called Tin Moon that offers services including helping clients bury negative search results about FDA violations, Blum dismissed the expose 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.”

Saturday, at the Linn County Republican Party convention, Blum continued to complain about the news, saying it made him out to be “the worst person on the face of the planet.” Blum also reportedly told Republicans at the convention that, like the first time he ran in 2014, he was again “under assault, under attack, the underdog and all that.” While that’s probably not true — the inherent advantage of incumbency means that sitting congressmen are rarely underdogs — Blum’s 1st District seat is seen as a toss-up in 2018 and the most vulnerable of the three GOP-held House seats in Iowa.

“What a beautiful assassination attempt,” Blum griped about the Tin Moon expose and the coverage that followed, which the Iowa Democratic Party was eager to exploit, calling it a “shocking revelation.”

Foley responded to Blum’s latest complaints Saturday on Twitter, defending his reporting by again casting doubt on the congressman’s dubious claims that he doesn’t run the business and reminding readers that Blum’s chief of staff, John Ferland, appeared in a video on the Tin Moon website giving a false testimonial for another Dubuque business Blum runs, a construction design firm called Digital Canal.

The testimonial video was removed from the website, but Bleeding Heartland reporter Laura Belin archived it first and uploaded it to YouTube along with a second video from the site featuring another Blum staffer apparently employed at Digital Canal. (Belin also revealed that Tin Moon’s website copied language in purported testimonials verbatim from other sites.)

Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.