Mike Braun is campaigning for the Senate as a made-in-America businessman, but he owns and profits from a home-decorating store that sells pricey knickknacks made in China, continuing to peddle those goods even after an independent fact-checker highlighted this hypocrisy.
Braun, the GOP Senate nominee in Indiana, and his wife, Maureen, have owned and operated the Jasper, Ind., gift shop Finishing Touches since 1978. Braun reported $225,000 in self-employment income from Finishing Touches on his personal financial disclosure.
An American Ledger examination of Finishing Touches’ offerings shows that the home decorating store sells a slew of foreign-made products, from drinkware by Yeti and Corkcicle to handbags by Vera Bradley.
The Brauns are evidently aware of the political liability that comes with campaigning on a made-in-America platform while profiting from goods manufactured overseas. On May 21, PolitiFact first reported that Finishing Touches sold products manufactured in foreign countries, including China.
The next day, Finishing Touches’ Facebook page was updated with a video touting the store’s American-made products, featuring Maureen Braun walking viewers through a selection of goods.
“We like to focus on things made in the USA and … really try to support everything made in the USA,” she said in the video.
But a week later, she was back to promoting products made outside the U.S. in another Finishing Touches Facebook video, including Mexican-made Mariposa tableware and Beatriz Ball metalware.
Earlier this month, Braun’s Senate campaign released an online ad that prominently featured Finishing Touches.
“After business school, Mike had lots of opportunities, but we came back to our hometown of Jasper,” Maureen Braun says in the ad, shot inside the store. “He helped me open my own business, and we got through many challenges.”
Mike Braun has frequently touted his commitment to “Made in America.” His campaign touts MeyersMeansFamily.com, a website devoted to defending Braun’s business background. He released a campaign ad by the same name in July.
The website says Braun “wants to go to Washington to do more to fight for manufacturing in the United States.”