INDIANAPOLIS – The nation’s nastiest and most expensive primary has come to an end, and Rep. Braun is the last man standing in what was described as the “circular firing squad” of the past year. But after roughly $1 million in negative ads were aired against him by members of his own party, Hoosiers know that Rep. Braun is looking out for himself and his bottom line instead of Indiana. Whether it’s voting repeatedly to raise Hoosiers’ taxes while cutting his own, or funding his Senate campaign with the profits of imported auto parts made by Chinese labor instead of Hoosier workers, voters already know that Rep. Braun is running for the Senate seat because he believes public office is the best platform for further self-enrichment.
Here is what Hoosiers have already learned about Rep. Braun:
Rep. Braun is not looking out for Hoosiers, he’s looking out for himself:As the Associated Press reported, Rep. Braun has made millions through his company that has repeatedly imported auto parts from China. It’s those profits, made with cheap foreign labor at the expense of Hoosiers, that have been used for months to buy his Senate nomination. Moreover, at the height of the backlash against Carrier’s decision to ship Hoosiers’ jobs to Mexico, he broke with members of both parties to side with Carrier and outsourcers like it instead of Hoosier workers.
- Rep. Braun insisted that his business uses American manufacturers, but the AP found that dozens of companies listed on his corporation’s website make or sell products from China, Mexico, Canada, and Germany, and his company has repeatedly imported shipments of goods produced in Chinese factories.
- Rep. Braun was one of few legislators in either party in the wake of the announcement of Carrier’s layoffs who voted against an amendment that would have allowed Indiana to claw back tax incentives for corporations who shipped jobs to foreign countries.
Rep. Braun’s self-dealing tenure in the Statehouse helped himself get richer at Hoosiers’ expense by cutting his own taxes while raising them on everyone else: During his time at the Statehouse, Rep. Braun crafted legislation to cut taxes on the timber industry, a move seen as unethical given that Rep. Braun is one of Indiana’s largest timber land owners. At the same time, Rep. Braun voted to raise Hoosiers’ taxes dozens of times, amounting to billions of dollars in new taxes, including the largest tax increase in Hoosier history.
- During his time in the Indiana Statehouse, his self-dealing cut his own taxes and resulted in notable personal profit, the Indy Star reported.
- In his three years in the legislature, Rep. Braun wrote and pushed for legislation that reduced regulatory costs and provided millions of dollars in tax breaks for the timber industry. Rep. Braun has one of the largest timber holdings in Indiana.
- At the same time, he voted for dozens of tax hikes, including the largest tax rise in Indiana history.
Rep. Braun is running on his success as a business owner, but his own business treats its workers terribly: Rep. Braun’s company, Meyer Distributing, has faced lawsuits and hundreds of violations citing poor worker treatment. Suits and complaints allege that Rep. Braun’s company fails to pay his employees what they’ve earned, denies them breaks, and forces them to work dangerously long shifts that are a hazard to themselves and others.
- The Journal Gazette exposed several lawsuits against Rep. Braun’s companies for poor worker treatment. A class-action suit currently pending in California alleges that Meyer Distributing underpaid workers, failed to provide adequate meal or rest times, and didn’t pay overtime or the minimum wage.
- Meanwhile, Rep. Braun’s company has been cited for forcing employees to falsify their logbooks and drive unsafe numbers of hours. When he refused to drive “16 to 18 hour days,” one employee was fired, according to the AP. Another was fired and had his health insurance taken away while recovering from heart surgery because he was too unwell to work during recovery.
- Failing to pay adequate wages seems to be a trend, as Meyer has been cited more than two dozen times under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It’s also been written up for nearly one hundred violations by the Department of Transportation alone for unsafe driving and hours of service violations in fewer than three years.
Hoosiers who have been paying attention know that Rep. Braun isn’t looking out for them, he’s looking out for his wallet — and he views elected office as the best opportunity to pad his bottom line. Even voters who haven’t been following him as closely still already know that he’s voted to cut his own taxes while raising them for the rest of the state, thanks to the high-profile primary and its brutal ad war. Rep. Braun may have just survived the primary, but making it through the next six months will be a much more difficult task.