Mike Braun’s business background has played a central role in his bid to unseat a two-term senator. In his campaign ads, Braun — a Republican running against Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat — has featured testimonials from employees and video of him walking around his warehouse.
While highlighting private-sector experience is common on the campaign trail, Braun has been criticized for distorting his corporate record.
In one ad, Braun touted his company’s high wages while claiming his pay wasn’t much more than his average worker. But it is — a lot more.
“I’m probably one of the lowest paid CEOs in the country for the size of my company,” Braun said last month at a forum with the African-American Coalition of Indianapolis. “My pay isn’t a whole lot more than the average pay of my employees, and I believe in that.”
But in his federal candidate financial disclosure released in October 2017, Braun reported earning a $233,035 salary from his company, Meyer Distributing, and an additional $18.5 million from company stock. In a disclosure filed in May, Braun reported a $180,000 salary and an additional $4.5 million from stock.
While much of Meyer Distributing’s internal finances is private, data from job-search site Indeed suggest the average salary ranged from $25,000 to $56,472, meaning Braun made at least three times the pay of his average employee — not including the tens of millions he earned from company stock.
Braun’s salary is also in line with median salary for CEOs of similar sized companies, according to PayScale, which tracks compensation.
CEOs in the United States typically earn salaries between $73,155 and $313,980 a year, with a median salary of $161,588. A late-career CEO like Braun with more than 20 years of experience can expect to make an average of $229,000 while CEOs of medium-sized companies — like Meyer — typically earn $210,000.
Braun’s salary comments were not the first instance during his Senate campaign where he was misleading about his business.
Despite Braun’s insistence that he did not make products overseas, an Associated Press report found that many of products manufactured by Braun’s automotive auto parts brand, Promaxx, were made in China.
Braun also claimed that he offered his employees “affordable” health insurance plans. However, Politico reported the deductibles were between $5,000 and $10,000.