Politicians are definitely serving their country, but they are also paid. During a town hall meeting on April 10, Republican House Representative Markwayne Mullin from Oklahoma attempted to argue that he was not paid by taxpayers to do his job and was therefore not beholden to their interests. The audience did not take kindly to his claim.
Markwayne Mullin responds to someone at his town hall meeting.
In a recording of his remarks shared on Facebook, Mullin endeavors to explain his reasoning. "I just want to address two things," said Mullin. "You say you pay for me to do this? Bullcrap. I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go."
Mullin owns a plumbing company which, as The Cherokee Phoenix points out, he inherited from his father. In 2012, Mullin's company also accepted $370,000 from a federal stimulus package which he described as a "horrible waste of tax dollars."
"I'm just saying," Mullin elaborated at the town hall meeting. "This is a service for me, not a career, and I thank God this is not how I make my living."
Following apparent backlash from the audience and across social media, Mullin's spokeswoman Amy Lawrence released a statement attempting to clarify his remarks. "His aspiration is to be a career legislator and not a career politician," said Lawrence. "He is not, nor does he ever aspire to be, a career politician. His priority will always be to serve his constituents to the best of his ability."
For the record, House Representatives are paid $174,000 a year.