WASHINGTON — House Ethics Committee leaders said Monday they are still reviewing U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s continued involvement in the Oklahoma plumbing company he operated before taking office.
The Republican chairman and top Democrat on the committee issued a joint statement on the matter and released materials from a referral by the Office of Congressional Ethics, an outside panel that probed Mullin’s ties to Mullin Plumbing Co. and related entities.
Before the release of the materials, the nature of the inquiry regarding Mullin had not been made public by the committee.
The ethics committee has not launched a formal investigation, and the leaders said Monday that “the mere fact of conducting further review of a referral, and any mandatory disclosure of such further review, does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgment on behalf of the Committee.”
The Office of Congressional Ethics said in its report that Mullin may have violated House rules and federal law by accepting more than $600,000 in earned income, well above the $27,000 limit for House members; and the office said Mullin may have violated House rules by appearing in broadcast ads promoting the company and in a home improvement show.
Mullin, through attorneys in Washington, said the Office of Congressional Ethics’ referral regarding income stemmed from a basic lack of knowledge about the way money flows through Subchapter S corporations; most of the $600,000 cited by the office was actually business expenses that flowed through Mullin, the congressman’s response said.