WATCH: Republican congressman tells his constituents that because he's rich, he doesn't work for them

Mullin may think he's being clever by saying he pays his own salary, but in reality he's just out of touch

Published April 13, 2017 7:25PM (EDT)

 Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla.  (Facebook/CongressmanMarkwayneMullin)
Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. (Facebook/CongressmanMarkwayneMullin)

Six years ago, Republican Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana — now deputy assistant secretary for health technology for President Donald Trump — complained that after taxes he only had "maybe $400,000 left over." Now fellow Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma is demonstrating the same level of class-related cluelessness.

During a town hall event that was captured on video and shared via social media on Monday, Mullin became defensive when a constituent pointed out that taxpaying citizens pay his salary.

"Bull crap, I paid for myself," the Republican congressman pushed back against his own constituent. "I paid enough taxes before I ever got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to do it. I do it as an honor and a service."

With his self-pitying argument, Mullin suggested that a higher tax burden represents some kind of economic injustice. (Spoiler alert: It doesn't).

When one attendee demanded that Mullin give up the six-figure salary that he currently makes, Mullin reiterated that "I have before, I’ve actually paid it back."

Mullin even reiterated this argument at another town hall meeting, with video shared by social media on Tuesday.

After a constituent asked him who pays his salary, he replied, "Me, I have self-employed. And I’ve been self-employed, and I’ve paid more taxes inside my own company and personally than I’ll ever receive from being in Congress. I pay own, and I pay my own insurance."

Mullin's comments aren't just elitist; they may also reveal that he is unethical.

In 2014 he got in trouble with the Office of Congressional Ethics for personally advertising and serving as an officer or board member for his companies, according to a report by The Washington Post. Although the office decided to not further investigate the matter, it also made clear that Mullin would violate ethics rules if he earned outside income in excess of $26,955 or sat on a company board.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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