Indiana Democrat Sen. Joe Donnelly hates outsourcing. He hates cheap foreign labor and recently went on a tirade against the Carrier Corp. for moving jobs to Mexico.
But the esteemed Senator has a hypocritical secret: He makes a pretty good living off of outsourcing.
Documents obtained by the Associated Press show that an arts and crafts business that Donnelly’s family has owned for decades is raking in big bucks on some of the exact same trade policies – and foreign labor – that the senator hypocritically decries.
For more than a year, Stewart Superior Corp. and its subsidiaries have been shipping thousands of pounds of raw materials to Mexico, where the company has a factory that produces ink pads and other supplies, according to customs records from Panjiva Inc., which tracks American imports and exports. The finished products are then transported back to a company facility in California, the records show.
Stewart Superior, which also has an operation in LaPorte, Indiana, says on its website that the company’s Mexican factory “brings economical, cost competitive manufacturing and product development to our valued customers.”
Donnelly’s brother officially runs the company, but he served as a corporate officer and general counsel before being elected to Congress in 2006. To this day, he owns as much as $50,000 in company stock and earned dividends of as much as $50,000 in 2016 alone.
Defending – or trying to defend – his boss’s duplicity, Donnelly’s campaign manager said he supports “quality Hoosier jobs.” Yeah, right.
“Joe is proud to support good companies that create quality Hoosier jobs, including Stewart Superior,” Peter Hanscom, Donnelly’s campaign manager, said in an email to the AP. “Throughout his career, Joe Donnelly has always fought for a level playing field for the American worker, including a renegotiation of NAFTA, and he will continue to do so.”
But not everybody sees it that way … maybe because not everybody is a flagrant hypocrite.
Alejandro Ruelas-Gossi, a Latin American trade expert, said Donnelly’s stake in the company amounts to “hypocrisy” in light of his outspoken campaign rhetoric against the North American Free Trade Agreement and similar deals.
“What you are creating is poverty, because the jobs they are creating are very poor jobs. You have very poor salaries. You have poor quality of life. It’s not good for America and it’s not good for Mexico,” said Ruelas-Gossi, a critic of these types of policies who has taught at the University of Miami School of Business and has written about Latin trade issues for Harvard Business Review.
Donnelly faces a very tough re-election in Red-State Indiana. President Donald Trump won that state by almost 20 points.
Looks like Sen. Hypocrite is in for an uphill climb. Maybe he can get some help from his Mexican friends.