Rep. Braun repeatedly voted for policies in the Statehouse that “benefitted him financially” as one of Indiana’s largest timber land owners
INDIANAPOLIS – Rep. Braun repeatedly pushed legislation while at the Statehouse that resulted in substantial personal profit, the Indy Star reported today, forcing Hoosiers to wonder what steps Rep. Braun would take to assure them that he’s not trying to go to Washington to further enrich himself.
According to the Indy Star’s bombshell report, Rep. Braun actively worked to give millions of dollars in tax breaks and significantly reduce regulation for the timber industry during his time at the Statehouse. In addition to his auto parts business, Rep. Braun owns more than 5,000 acres of timber land in Indiana that yields him tens of thousands of dollars a year, making him one of Indiana’s largest timber land owners.
Industry experts told the Star that it’s clear the legislation benefited private timber land owners like Rep. Braun, and watchdog groups derided Rep. Braun’s actions as a serious breach of ethics. “Obviously there is a benefit to the landowner,” Roy Moistner, executive director of Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, said in the report.
This morning’s article strikes directly at the heart of Rep. Braun’s campaign, who’s trying to run as an outsider untainted by politics or special interests. Yet his push for favorable legislation for an industry in which he holds significant financial interest raises skepticism about that claim, especially considering that his timber interests are much smaller than his holdings in his automotive parts business. Supporting changes to policies regarding that industry could result in millions of dollars in additional profit for Rep. Braun alone.
Given Rep. Braun’s track record of self-enriching votes at the Statehouse, it wouldn’t be shocking to expect the same pattern of behavior if Braun were to reach higher office. Rep. Braun would be able to set voters’ minds at ease about that were he to promise to abstain from any vote affecting the timber or auto parts industries in the Senate if elected.
“Rep. Braun’s history of writing blatantly self-enriching legislation in the Statehouse makes clear that he’s the same type of swamp politician that he’s spent his entire campaign complaining about,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “How can voters trust that Rep. Braun isn’t running for Senate purely to use the office as a greater platform for self-enrichment? If Rep. Braun wants to earn back Hoosiers’ trust, he needs to promise voters he’d abstain on any proposal affecting the timber or auto parts industries if elected.”