TULSA - Now that he's finally allowed to speak out, Congressman Markwayne Mullin has expressed anger and frustration over the threat of a possible ethics investigation, saying it's about whether the current system will allow someone to be a citizen legislator, or limit the ability to hold office to professional politicians.
The Office of Congressional Ethics, a special committee set up by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has recommended the House Ethics Committee look into some $600,000 it says Mullin made through his plumbing business.
Mullin and his attorneys say he was a pass-through for all but about $97,000 of that money, which is common practice in S Corporations.
All of Mullin's businesses are S Corporations.
He says his business spent a lot of time and money and worked hard to avoid any ethical issues, all on the advice of HEC staff.
But ultimately, Mullin says, the entire battle is over whether he can run a private business and a farm and continue to serve in Congress.
He ran for Congress because "the biggest threat to my company was from Washington, D.C." he told KRMG.
"Can you still be a citizen legislator, or has the bureaucrats of Washington, D.C. and the people who wrote these rules - have they got it set up now where you can only be a career politician?" he asked.
"People want to know why there's a distance between Washington, D. C. and the real world? It's because they don't allow you to actually be part of the real world any more. It is so frustrating. That is exactly the reason why I went up there."
House rules require members to only make $27,000 annually in "earned" income.
But they can make unlimited amounts of "unearned" money through investments, even when those investments are in businesses regulated by Congress.
It's now up to the HEC to decide if it will act on the OCE's recommendation that it conduct an investigation.