An Indiana senator who is a longtime critic of outsourcing jobs to foreign countries says he's finalizing his sale of stock in a family arts and crafts business that operates a factory in Mexico.
Sen. Joe Donnelly, considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats up for re-election in a deep red state next year, vowed on July 14 to sell stock worth as much as $50,000 in the Stewart Superior Corp. The promise came after The Associated Press first reported that the company, which is operated by Donnelly's brother and has been in his family for generations, benefits from the same trade practices Donnelly has blasted throughout his political career.
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The Donnelly campaign said in an email Monday night that the senator signed over his stock in the company on Aug. 11 for $17,410 and plans to donate the proceeds to 10 different charities across Indiana.
"Joe will donate the amount paid in the sale of the stock to ten foodbanks across Indiana and is grateful for their continued work to serve Hoosiers in need, and is eager to continue to work across the aisle to stand up for Hoosier jobs and build support for the End Outsourcing Act," campaign manager Peter Hanscom said in a statement to the AP.
Donnelly has yet to file a mandatory financial disclosure documenting the sale, which Senate ethics rules require him to file within 30 days of receiving notification of the transaction. His campaign says that he is still waiting to receive payment.
Donnelly has long criticized free-trade policies for killing American jobs. He accused Carrier, an air conditioner and furnace maker, and its parent company of exploiting $3-an-hour workers when it announced plans to wind down operations in Indiana and move to Mexico.
However, Stewart Superior continues to capitalize on some of the same trade policies and low-paid foreign labor, operating a factory in the state of Jalisco through a Mexican subsidiary company, Diverstech Color de Mexico.
Since at least 2012, Stewart Superior and its subsidiaries have been shipping thousands of pounds of raw materials to the Mexican factory, where it 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.
Since the AP's first report, Stewart Superior has removed sections from its website mentioning the Mexican operation. But the company initially touted the factory, stating that it "brings economical, cost competitive manufacturing and product development to our valued customers."
The issue has the potential to haunt Donnelly during the coming campaign. Already the National Republican Senate Committee hired a mariachi band, which performed outside Donnelly's formal campaign kickoff event this month.