Rep. Braun has staked his Senate bid on his claim of running a successful business, but his claims about his companies are belied by a long history of poor worker treatment and outsourcing, a blistering report from the Associated Press revealed yesterday.
Rep. Braun pledged he’d help bring jobs back from overseas while relying on Chinese labor instead of Hoosier workers, railed against subsidies while his company took them, and claimed he’d stand up for the little guy while racking up workforce violations. It’s the largest report yet showing that when it comes to his company or his campaign, Rep. Braun is looking out for himself — and no one else.
From the Associated Press: Indiana candidate’s rhetoric, business record don’t line up
Oklahoma truck driver Timothy Jackson was recovering from emergency heart surgery when he learned he’d lost his job — and his health insurance along with it — because managers at the company’s Indiana headquarters decided he wasn’t healthy enough to work.
The multimillionaire who owns that business, former Indiana state Rep. Mike Braun, is locked in a bitter Republican primary with two congressmen for the right to challenge Democrat Joe Donnelly in one of the nation’s most closely watched Senate races.
Braun has blamed “career politicians” for outsourcing good-paying jobs overseas, while pledging he’ll help bring them back. Yet when it comes to his own businesses, Braun’s record falls far short of his campaign rhetoric, a review by The Associated Press found.
Meyer Distributing, the Jasper-based national auto parts distribution company Braun owns, does brisk business importing goods from the same overseas countries he has criticized for taking American jobs. He also has accepted government subsidies, despite criticizing the practice.
And lawsuits filed against his companies — backed up by federal trucking and labor records — present a picture of a boss who has overworked and underpaid employees.
“Candidates who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” said Julia Vaughn, policy director of the liberal-leaning good government group Common Cause Indiana. “I’m always concerned when candidates talk about wanting to run government like business because people who are extremely successful in business sometimes get there by cutting corners and treating employees unfairly.”
While Braun has used his wealth to run a blitz of ads criticizing politicians for putting “Mexico before Muncie” and “Beijing before Bloomington,” he hasn’t always been a critic of free trade and outsourcing.
As a state legislator, he voted in 2016 against bipartisan “clawback” legislation that would have allowed Indiana governments to recoup financial incentives given to companies that move jobs abroad. The legislation was proposed in the wake of Carrier Corp. announcing that it was moving hundreds of manufacturing jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico.
Dozens of foreign or foreign-owned auto parts companies do business with Braun’s company, according to its website. His businesses have received repeated shipments of foreign made goods over the past five years, most of which are from China, according to records maintained by the trade tracking website Import Genius.