Democrats in Missouri are knocking a Republican Senate candidate for taking a hefty salary from the family company he said he was no longer running at the same time that the company laid off workers.
John Brunner, one of three Republicans vying to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) in November, officially entered the race in October — the same month that Vi-Jon, his family’s health and cosmetic products company, commissioned a round of layoffs that included 36 workers.
Brunner had stepped down as the company’s CEO at the end of 2009, then bowed out of his role as chairman of the board in September 2011, anticipating his entrance into the Senate race the next month. He still serves on the board of directors.
Brunner has used his more-limited role to argue he wasn’t intimately involved in day-to-day decisions at the time the company was letting go of employees. But Brunner’s financial disclosure, filed in early February, shows he took a salary of $372,000 for 2011, which Democrats say chips away at his ability to distance himself from the layoffs.
“If John Brunner was taking nearly $400,000 in salary and filming dishonest ‘job creator’ ads on Vi-Jon’s factory floor, Brunner clearly had to know what was going on with Vi-Jon’s recent lay-offs,” said Caitlin Legacki, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Democratic Party.