Republican Sen. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma began making noise as a tea party and birther conspiracy theorist.* In recent days Mullin has been seen complaining about student loan forgiveness while taking millions in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgiveness himself.
On Wednesday, Mullin was at work on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (H.E.L.P.) Committee that is chaired by Sen. Bernie Sanders. Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien testified at the hearing titled “Defending the Right of Workers to Organize Unions Free from Illegal Corporate Union-Busting” on an invitation from Sanders. O’Brien’s prepared statement spoke to the need for stricter and more enforceable consequences for big businesses and CEOs who break labor laws with seeming impunity.
Mullin’s job as a conservative millionaire business owner is to say that unions are bad for business. CEOs like Sen. Mullin spend most of their time bullying the people around them, and once on a congressional committee, their grandstanding style can usually be described as aggressively a-hole-ish. But O’Brien is a Teamster, and Teamsters aren’t known for their timidity when facing bullies like Mullin. So when ol’ Markwayne began his pantomime of a big strong man, O’Brien’s defiance really triggered him.
It was something to watch.
*For those who might not know, there were a bunch of conservatives (and a reality TV host named Trump) that believed President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Unfortunately for them there was never any evidence to support this conspiracy theory and we now all live in an America run by Jewish globalist muslims from China who have taken away all of our guns.
Here’s a quick reminder of who Sen. Markwayne Mullin is.
The exchange that took place came after Mullin repeatedly took shots at the union, saying that the union tried to intimidate him when he first took over his father’s business (yes, that’s how he came into his wealth). Puffing out his chest, Sen. Mullin said, “I’m not afraid of a physical confrontation, in fact, sometimes, I look forward to it,” as some kind of tough-man schtick. He then attacked O’Brien’s $300,000 salary, saying he didn’t create any jobs and was simply draining union fees.
It was that last part that led O’Brien to tell Mullin he was “out of line.” Mullin then upped the civility of the discourse by telling O’Brien to “Shut your mouth.” At this point O’Brien called the clearly insecure Mullin out for his “tough guy” BS, and explained that his salary was dependent on him and the union holding “greedy CEOS like you accountable.” Hehe.
At this point, Mullin says he’s not greedy. Eh? Let’s agree to disagree. Any-the-who’s! O’Brien asks the multi-millionaire Mullin what his CEO salary was, to which Mullin, with a straight face, says “I kept my salary down by about 50 thousand a year because I sank every penny into it.”
Now ,in Markwayne Mullin’s defense, he might very well believe the bullshit he’s selling. But, as Tulsa World reported back during the 2022 election cycle, the money he was able to make while depending on the federal government for loan forgiveness was something to behold.
Mullin, meanwhile, saw his reported assets balloon from a range of $7.3 million to $29.9 million at the end of 2020 to a range of $31.6 million to $75.6 million.
Mullin’s big jump in reported assets apparently results from the sale of his plumbing-related companies to HomeTown Services, a multi-state residential heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical company. The sale is not specifically listed under transactions for 2021, but a stake in HomeTown valued at $1 million-$5 million and an investment of $25 million-$50 million in a cash management fund — both dated Dec. 10, 2021 — are.
Anyway. Probably nothing there. O’Brien’s response to Mullin’s claims of having a modest income really set the stage for the whirlwind finale of this exchange. “You mean you hid money.”
Markos and Kerry luxuriate in the battle going on between Donald Trump’s ascending fascism and Mitch McConnell’s disappearing neocon establishment. The fighting has become much sharper recently as the MAGA-media outlet Fox News has traveled further and further away from reality.