What has Rod Blum done for Iowa's first district?

Sherry Kiskunas is a Democratic activist and a local leader of Indivisible Iowa in Waterloo. -promoted by desmoinesdem

What has Representative Rod Blum actually done for Iowa’s first Congressional District? The evidence suggests not much.

We all know that Blum has voted with President Donald Trump 92.2 percent of the time. Blum sponsored only twelve bills during the 115th Congressional session, co-sponsored 146 bills, and has successfully passed just two bills into law (ranking 38 out of all 431 U.S. House members). We know that from January 2015 to September 2018, Blum missed 55 of 2,450 roll call votes. He votes against his own party just 9.9 percent of the time. The GovTrack website lists more details about Blum’s voting record.

In contrast, Representative Steve King (IA-04) sponsored 42 bills and co-sponsored 268 bills. From January 2003 to September 2018, King missed 273 of 11,226 roll call votes. For more about King’s voting record, see his page on GovTrack.

Representative David Young (IA-03) sponsored seventeen bills and co-sponsored 280 bills these past two years. He has not missed any votes during his four years in Congress. More about Young’s voting record is on his GovTrack page.

Overwhelmingly, the bills supported by Iowa’s Republicans in Congress are not good for their constituents.

We all know about Rod Blum’s once-secret internet company, Tin Moon. Though Blum has amended his personal financial disclosure form, which initially didn’t list this asset, the House Ethics Committee is investigating whether he broke any ethics rules in how Tin Moon was managed. The company used Blum’s Congressional staffer John Ferland in a fake testimonial that portrayed Ferland as a satisfied customer. We also know Tin Moon promised to bury bad information, such as warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration, in online searches.

First Blum claimed that Tin Moon was “not functioning” in 2016. In his amended personal disclosure, he listed himself as the majority shareholder and claimed Tin Moon was an asset worth $700. He has downplayed the matter as a clerical mistake. Which is it, Representative Blum?

Now comes the fun information that few people know: Blum was among the members of Congress featured in a DocuSeries called “The Swamp,” covering how awful it is to be in the United States House of Representatives. Only four episodes from this six-part series have aired. Here’s a link to the trailer for the series. You can watch the first four installments on YouTube:

Part 1, “Meet the Troublemakers”

Part 2, “Everything Comes From the Top”

Part 3, “Dirty Money and Backroom Deals”

Part 4, “Consequences”

Creator Matt Whitworth follows with a camera as each House member complains about everything from the Capitol Building layout (Blum gets lost trying to find a office) to the political culture in Washington. At one point, Blum says of Congress, “This place is like Hotel California. You can check in but never check out.”

Having watched all four parts, I believe a GOP supporter provided these Republican representatives with a platform to paint themselves as the good guys on Capitol Hill. The heroes aren’t the problem, it’s the GOP (and Democratic) House leadership.

So we know what Blum has done for the first Congressional district: not sponsoring enough bills to help Iowans, lying about a company that he owns, using a paid Congressional staffer to film a false endorsement about Blum’s company, and filming a reality show, that was apparently shot while collecting a salary paid by taxpayers. Is that why Iowans elected Rod Blum?

Enjoy the hypocrisy and get out the vote on November 6!

Sherry Kiskunas is an active volunteer with an interest in many issues, particularly access to mental health services. She serves on the Black Hawk County Democratic central committee and on the Iowa Democratic Party’s central committee for the first Congressional distric. She is also also the leader of Indivisible Iowa chapters in Senate districts 30 and 31, which include House districts 59, 60, 61, and 62 in Cedar Falls and Waterloo.

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