INDIANAPOLIS – Organizers from the Indiana Debate Commission began accepting questions from the public yesterday for April 30’s GOP Senate primary debate, and the potential nominees have plenty to answer for. In just the last few days, multiple stories have broken about all three candidates, yet none of them have fully accounted for their roles in these reports.
After the AP reported last Tuesday that Congressman Rokita had called President Trump “vulgar” and “profane” in 2016, three more stories broke on Friday alone. The Indy Star reported Rep. Braun had written and pushed for timber legislation while at the Statehouse that resulted in substantial personal profit. The Journal Gazette revealed that the avowed “100 percent pro-life” Congressman Rokita gave thousands of dollars in campaign donations to Congressman Scott DesJarlais after it had been reported he had pressured his mistress into having an abortion. And the Cincinnati Enquirer revealed that Congressman Messer engaged in an alleged straw donor scheme to help Congressman Jim Renacci’s failed gubernatorial bid in Ohio.
While we’ve already provided a list of questions for moderators when WISH-TV began asking for questions for this Sunday’s debate, there are more basic questions about these scandals that none of the candidates have given Hoosiers answers to—and the upcoming debates provide an opportunity to get them.
Here are six more questions for the candidates:
- Rep. Braun, as a senator would you promise to abstain from any votes on proposals affecting the timber or auto parts industries, or any other industries in which you have financial interests?
- Congressman Messer, as someone who has pledged to drain the swamp, why isn’t serving as an alleged straw donor for another lobbyist-turned-Congressman like yourself an example of swamp politics at its worst?
- Congressman Rokita, you recently said that “sometimes [President Trump] was vulgar and profane. Sometimes I am.” What instances are you referring to when you say you’ve been “vulgar and profane?” What instances would your staff cite?
- Rep. Braun, given your history at the Statehouse, why should voters trust that you aren’t running for Senate purely to use the office as a greater platform for self-enrichment?
- Congressman Messer, to help clear your name, will you pledge to donate the $6,000 Congressman Renacci gave to your campaign as part of this alleged straw donor scheme?
- Congressman Rokita, why did your leadership PAC donate to Congressman DesJarlais after it was revealed he pressured his wife and mistress to have abortions? What do you say to pro-life Hoosiers who are questioning your actions?