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News > World

US Senator Profits From Mexico Outsourcing He Decries

  • U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

    U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana. | Photo: AFP

Published 13 July 2017

Donnelly has long blamed free-trade policies for killing U.S. jobs.

U.S. Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly has profited from a family business that outsources labor to Mexico despite his fierce critique of such practices, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

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Stewart Superior Corp., an arts and crafts company owned by Donnelly’s family for generations, has been shipping raw materials for more than a year to a factory in Mexico that produces ink pads and other supplies.

The company says on its website that its Mexican factory "brings economical, cost competitive manufacturing and product development to our valued customers." The finished products are then transported back to a company facility in California.

Although Donnelly's brother runs the company, the senator still owns as much as US$50,000 in company stock and earned between US$15,001 and US$50,000 in dividends on it in 2016 alone, according to the AP.

Donnelly has railed against the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals that have made it easier for U.S. companies to move jobs to places like Mexico. Last year, he also accused Carrier, an air conditioner and furnace maker, for its outsourcing to Mexico.

"What you're seeing with Carrier is what I call free riders," Donnelly told the Indiana political news website The Statehouse File in August 2016. "What they do because of the trade agreement NAFTA, is they ship jobs to Mexico for US$3 an hour, and so they get the benefit of the absolute lowest wages they can find, and then turn around to ship the products back into the United States."

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Peter Hanscom, Donnelly's campaign manager, said in an email to AP that Donnelly is proud to support companies like Stewart Superior that “create quality Hoosier jobs.”

"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," Hanscom said.

Considered one of the nation's most vulnerable Democratic senators up for re-election next year, Donnelly is currently sponsoring a bill called the End Outsourcing Act, which would require companies to disclose jobs moved abroad and require the federal government to take into account a company's outsourcing practices when awarding contracts.

"I have been fighting alongside these workers for years, arguing that we have an obligation to ensure that federal policies are designed to benefit the U.S. economy, and that we encourage investment in the foundation of our economy — American workers, their families and our communities," Donnelly wrote in a November letter to President Donald Trump.

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