Super PAC targets Indiana senator on outsourcing

Super PAC targets Indiana senator on outsourcing
© Greg Nash

The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) is launching a new microsite on Tuesday meant to tar Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyEx-Sen. Joe Donnelly endorses Biden Lobbying world 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents MORE (D-Ind.) over revelations from this summer that he earned profit from a family company that outsourced jobs to Mexico.

The new website is called "MexicoJoe.com," a nod to the pejorative nickname that Republicans have bestowed upon Donnelly since the news broke over the summer. It will be a central hub for the SLF's attacks on Donnelly, hosting content including video and news clippings.

“This website is the latest installment in our substantial paid digital campaign against our 2018 Democrat targets. We look forward to exposing Mexico Joe Donnelly’s flagrant outsourcing hypocrisy during his time as a do-nothing U.S. Senator," SLF spokesman Chris Pack told The Hill in a statement. 

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The Hill first reported SLF's new efforts.

SLF, a super PAC aligned with Senate Republican leadership, will also launch a paid digital advertising campaign to direct people to the new, anti-Donnelly site. The effort is part of the group's $500,000 paid digital ad campaign that includes a slate of similar websites targeting vulnerable incumbent Democratic senators. 

So far, the group has launched websites hitting Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillTrump mocked for low attendance at rally Missouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns MORE (D-Mo.) and Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads George Floyd and the upcoming Texas Democratic Senate runoff Energy companies cancel Atlantic Coast Pipeline MORE (D-W.Va.).

Republicans have seized on the July story from The Associated Press that highlighted Donnelly's investment in the business, asserting that it undercuts the senator's stated commitment to protecting U.S. workers from losing their jobs to outsourcing.

In a July statement in response to the AP story, Donnelly campaign manager Peter Hansom said, "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," referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Disclosure reports filed with the Senate show that Donnelly sold the stock in August and his campaign told The AP that it would donate the money to Indiana-based charities. 

In a statement about the new website, Donnelly campaign manager Peter Hansom defended the senator's record to The Hill, arguing that Donnelly has been more consistent on trade than his potential Republican opponents. 
 
"While his Republican opponents have repeatedly sided against President Trump on trade and in favor of a rigged system that allows companies to ship jobs to other countries, Joe Donnelly is the only candidate in this race who's voted against every bad trade deal he's seen in Congress," he said. 
 
"No matter how much money Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse chairman asks CDC director to testify on reopening schools during pandemic Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Pelosi says House won't cave to Senate on worker COVID-19 protections MORE and his special interest backers in Washington spend to smear Joe's name, Hoosiers won't forget Joe's record of growing Indiana manufacturing and fighting companies like Carrier who sell out American workers for cheap foreign labor."
 
Indiana Republican Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer are both running in the GOP primary, as is Republican state Rep. Mike Braun.