INDIANAPOLIS – After the Indy Star revealed Rep. Braun wrote and actively pushed legislation for the timber industry at the Statehouse that resulted in significant personal financial gain, the GOP candidate still has yet to answer basic questions about their bombshell report.
Friday, the Indy Star reported that Braun wrote bills that he personally profited from by giving millions of dollars in tax breaks and rolling back significant regulations for the timber industry during his two terms at the Statehouse. Rep. Braun is one of Indiana’s largest timber land owners, laying claim to more than 5,000 acres of timber land that yield him tens of thousands of dollars a year in profit. Industry experts made clear that given his significant stake in the timber industry, he undoubtedly stood to gain from the passage his bills.
Rep. Braun’s history of writing blatantly self-enriching legislation has thrown serious doubt over the weekend about his claim that he’s running as a political outsider. With less than a month left until the primary, Hoosiers deserve answers from Rep. Braun about his time in the Statehouse, and whether he’d engage in the same type of self-enriching behavior if he were elected to the Senate.
Here are six questions Rep. Braun still owes Hoosiers answers on:
- 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 significant financial interests?
- You rail against Congressmen Rokita and Messer for being career politicians who take advantage of their public office for personal gain, but how are your actions here any different from what you criticize them for?
- 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?
- You claim that you did not break Indiana ethics rules because this legislation doesn’t have a “substantial” impact on your income, yet you made as much as, if not more than, $170,000 in timber income in 2016 and 2017 and expect that amount to increase going forward. What is your definition of substantial in this circumstance?
- Why was no one aware of this issue beforehand, and did you mention to Statehouse leadership that you had these conflicts of interest when introducing the legislation?
- You claim the reason you introduced a new tax break for tree harvesting equipment was because it would put logging “on equal footing with soybeans and corn.” Why do you believe these two very different commodity crops are an appropriate benchmark for logging?