U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, Okla., confirmed Thursday (April 3) he would seek re-election to his 2nd District Congressional seat this year. Mullin, a prominent business owner who beat a field of nine candidates to secure a seat in Congress in 2012, has been in the news recently for a variety of reasons.
Most discussed in recent weeks is the opening of an ethics investigation into Mullin's income from his family plumbing business.
After being elected to Congress, Mullin has continued to be actively involved in the operations of Mullin Plumbing, appearing in television commercials in both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa markets, as well as hosting a radio program where listeners can call in to ask plumbing-related questions.
A report by the Office of Congressional Ethics alleged that Mullin received income from Mullin Plumbing and its associated companies under his ownership in excess of $600,000 in 2013. Mullin's Washington, D.C.-based attorneys have disputed the allegations, explaining that it was their opinion that the OCE "grossly exaggerates the amount" of earned income.
For his part, Mullin took issue with the investigation now ongoing by the House Committee on Ethics.
"Apparently it’s acceptable for Members of Congress to own stock in companies we regulate in Congress, but somehow our plumbing company crosses some line. This is more of the kind of thing that leaves people scratching their heads and saying ‘only in the government,’" he said.
In his campaign announcement early Thursday (April 3), Mullin alluded to his ethics investigation and his desire to change the way things are done in Washington.
“I am more determined than ever to challenge the status quo in Washington D.C. and fight for our way of life here in Oklahoma," he said. "I will never stand by and allow career politicians to win the fight. I am a citizen legislator and I will stand every day against the career politicians and the special interests bureaucrats who want to over-regulate our lives and rob us of our freedom.”
Mullin is so far the only announced candidate in his vast eastern Oklahoma district, which includes the western section of the Fort Smith metropolitan area. The Republican primary will be held June 24, while the general election will be held Nov. 4.