Democrat That Profited Off Outsourcing Points Finger at Carrier

Joe Donnelly lashes out at Carrier despite financial ties to outsourcing family business

Sen. Joe Donnelly / Getty Images

Exactly one week after Sen. Joe Donnelly's investments in a family business that outsourced manufacturing to Mexico were exposed, the Indiana Democrat is reigniting his call for legislation that would punish companies doing just that.

Donnelly responded quickly after the Associated Press reported on his investments in Stewart Superior, a privately owned business that has been in the Donnelly family for generations and that recently shifted manufacturing to a plant in Guadalajara.

The Indiana senator first announced he was cashing in his stock in the company. Just days later the company removed all traces of the Mexican manufacturing operation from its website, without disclosing why the change was made.

Now, Donnelly is reembracing the anti-outsourcing rhetoric that initially led to him being branded as a hypocrite.

"We need to change our federal policies to stop the outsourcing of Hoosier and American jobs," Donnelly said in a video posted on Thursday that failed to address his involvement in a company, with a factory in Indiana, that also outsourced jobs to Mexico.

Instead of addressing Stewart Superior, Donnelly pointed his finger at Carrier, an Indiana company that was initially slated to lay off 1,400 workers but agreed to spare 800 of the jobs after negotiations with then-President Elect Donald Trump last November.

"With the layoffs of hundreds of Hoosiers at Carrier, the lives of hardworking men and women and their family are being upended because this highly profitable company is moving jobs to Mexico," Donnelly said.

Donnelly saw increased profits from his investment in Stewart Superior in the years following the establishment of its Mexican manufacturing operation.

Donnelly began tweeting early Thursday afternoon regarding all the work he has done to promote the End Outsourcing Act, legislation that would establish tax incentives and penalties aimed at reducing outsourcing and also bar companies that do outsource jobs from receiving federal contracts.

In the series of tweets, Donnelly pointed to his meeting with Carrier workers, his meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and his work in the Senate to build support for the anti-outsourcing legislation.

It is exactly this sort of activity, however, that led to wide criticism of Donnelly for quietly investing in a company run by his brother that was shipping raw materials to Mexico in order to cut down its labor costs.

"An Indiana senator railed against Carrier Corp. for moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico last year, even as he profited from a family business that relies on Mexican labor to produce dye for ink pads," wrote the Associated Press.

Republicans, who have taken to calling Donnelly "Mexico Joe" in the past week, say his tweets on outsourcing fall short given that Stewart Superior is still operating south of the border.

"If Joe Donnelly really wants to help Indiana workers and end outsourcing, he should start with his family business," said Bob Salera, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "While Mexico Joe goes on tweetstorms from Washington, his family business continues to profit from shipping Hoosier jobs to Mexico."

Donnelly is yet to directly address his investment in Stewart Superior, aside from calling the reporting on the company a "distraction."

Neither Donnelly's campaign nor Senate office responded to requests for comment.