Republican Congressman Rod Blum, who is facing a tough battle from Democrats in Iowa’s 1st House District in the upcoming midterms, has shown once again his failure to comprehend the duties of being a public servant.
Blum is the guy who last year abruptly walked out of an interview with local TV news station KCRG after a reporter asked him why he required IDs for entry into a town hall in Dubuque. The two-term congressman later faced a hostile crowd of constituents angry over his support of the Republicans’ disastrous American Health Care Act.
American Ledger, published by American Bridge, had earlier reported that DeSantis was one of several moderators of the “Tea Party” private Facebook group, whose followers have posted racist attacks against Black Lives Matter, insults of Parkland school shooting survivors, and bigoted disinformation about Muslim immigrants, among other examples of hate speech. The Facebook group, which has 97,000 followers, was first reported on Twitter by Media Matters researcher Natalie Martinez.
DeSantis quit the group after the reports were published.
On Friday, Associated Press reporter Ryan J. Foley emailed a Blum spokesperson a simple question: “I am looking into this news that Rep. Blum is a member of the Tea Party Facebook group where racist and offensive material is routinely shared,” Foley wrote. “Ron DeSantis said he wasn’t aware that he was a member of this group and has quit it. Can you explain his membership in this group?”
Blum, a public official, could have given several answers here. Instead, he tweeted Foley’s question, along with the reporter’s office address, cellphone number, Twitter handle, and other work details.
He added: “Can you believe @rjfoley contacted my staff trying to tie me to racist material being shared by random people worldwide on an open Facebook group I don’t even know exists? I can. This ‘journalist’ is obsessed w hating on Republicans & abuses his position.”
The congressman’s tweet could be seen as payback for a story Foley wrote last February revealing Blum had violated House ethics rules by failing to disclose his ownership position in an internet marketing company that offered false testimonials promising to help companies cited for violations by the Food and Drug Administration.
At the time, Blum claimed he had “never seen the [company’s] website,” despite it having “an official photo of Blum wearing his congressional pin,” according to the AP.
“Not only is Congressman Blum using his power and position to benefit his own bottom line, he’s doing it at the expense of the health and safety of the people of Iowa’s 1st District,” Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Troy Price told Foley at the time.
In response to Blum doxing Foley, American Bridge communications director Andrew Bates said the congressman has been a member of the Tea Party Facebook group since 2015. “[Y]ou’re STILL in it as of right now,” Bates tweeted, adding, “But instead of owning up, you get unhinged.”