Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Biden taps former Indiana Sen. Donnelly as ambassador to Vatican Republicans may regret restricting reproductive rights MORE (D-Ind.) is selling his stock in a family-owned business after The Associated Press reported the company uses a Mexican factory to produce dye for ink pads.
"I'm selling the stock in my brother's company — a company I haven't had an active role in for 20 years," Donnelly said in a statement on Friday.
Stewart Superior Corp., an arts and crafts business owned by Donnelly's family, has for more than a year shipped raw material to a company-owned factory in Mexico, according to the AP report.
Though Donnelly's brother runs the company, the Indiana Democrat, who has been an outspoken critic of outsourcing, still owns as much as $50,000 in company stock and earned between $15,001 and $50,000 in dividends in 2016.
Donnelly said on Friday that he was selling off the stock because "some folks in Washington" were trying to use it as a distraction.
"Some folks in Washington want to make the stock I've owned in my brother's company into a distraction from our work to end outsourcing. I won't let them distract us," he said.
The Associated Press report sparked a wave of local headlines in Indiana and criticism from Republicans, who have seized on Donnelly personally profiting from a trade policy that he's spoken out against.
The Republican National Committee sent an email to reporters on Thursday seizing on the issue, calling Donnelly a "hypocrite" and nicknaming the senator "Mexico Joe."
Donnelly is one of 10 Democrats up for reelection in 2018 in states won by Trump in the 2016 election. He's also widely considered one of the most vulnerable red-state Democrats running next year.
“If Mexico Joe really wants to help Hoosiers affected by outsourcers like his family’s company, he should donate the profits of his stock sale to organizations that help the families of displaced workers," said Bob Salera, a spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
But Donnelly appeared to try shift the onus back to Republicans on Friday to crackdown on outsourcing, urging Senate GOP leadership to take up legislation intended to establish penalties and reviews for U.S. businesses that move jobs out of the country.
"This is legislation that I've talked to President Trump about, and he agrees would be a step forward. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellNAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Sununu says he skipped Senate bid to avoid being 'roadblock' to Biden for two years 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE ought to bring this bill up on the floor next week," he said.