Mike Braun is running for a Senate seat on the back of his decades-long business career, earning the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — touting his record in the private sector — on Tuesday.
The chamber, however, didn’t mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars — up to $2 million in all — Braun’s company has received in government assistance, allegations that he stiffed employees out of overtime pay or that his company manufactures goods in China, all while Braun campaigns against subsidies and outsourcing.
Braun, a Republican who owns the Jasper, Ind.-based distribution company Meyer Distributing, is running to unseat Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.
On the campaign trail, Braun has criticized local governments offering financial incentives to relocate, saying earlier this year companies like Amazon, whom Indianapolis is wooing for its new headquarters, “shouldn’t be subsidized by the government,” according to The Associated Press.
In 2012, Meyer received a 10-year tax abatement worth $538,000 from the Jasper city council to hire 100 people and up to $800,000 from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to add 109 jobs between 2013 and 2017.
All told, the AP reported Braun received incentives that could pay up to $2 million.
In May, the AP reported that Meyer employees in California, Oklahoma and West Virginia sued the company for unsafe work conditions and being denied overtime pay.
The company agreed to pay $39,402 in back wages to employees at its Jasper headquarters after for the Labor Department found 26 incidents of unpaid overtime between 2008 and 2010, the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne reported in April.
Braun has also criticized companies for outsourcing jobs, but many of the products his own automotive parts brand, Promaxx, manufactures its good in China, according to the AP.
In December, Braun categorically denied making products overseas.
“My business is never involved in anything overseas other than some of the companies that we distribute their products,” he said at a GOP breakfast in Bloomington.
When the AP asked the campaign what percentage of Promaxx’s products are made in China, a spokesman avoided the question, calling it a distraction from “Donnelly’s record of profiting from outsourcing.”