Paul Nehlen is running for Congress in Wisconsin’s 1st District attempting to oust House Speaker Paul Ryan in the August primary. Central to Nehlen’s campaign platform is his opposition to current or proposed trade deals that, he argues, send U.S. jobs oversees for the benefit of crony capitalists and the coffers of political campaigns they support. But a review of Nehlen’s work history finds that the firebrand opponent of existing free trade deals actually managed a Chinese factory that exported its product to U.S. markets – products that were once made by American workers.
From late 2013 to early 2014, Nehlen served on the board of directors for Tyden Security Seal Company, Ltd, according to his LinkedIn profile. The company’s location is listed as Suzhou, Jiangsu, China. Nehlen’s service on the board also overlaps with his job as division president at TydenBrooks, a Georgia-based security products company.
According to the company’s website, TydenBrooks used to be Tyden Brammall before combining with EJ Brooks – hence the new name TydenBrooks – “to become the leading supplier of security seals in the world.” The firm also purchased Stoffel Seals, which was a leading company in the North American market for security seals.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor conducted a review of TydenBrooks and found that a number of employees were eligible for the Worker Adjustment Assistance program because their jobs were outsourced. The program compensates workers whose jobs have been outsourced with funds for education and re-training so they can re-enter the workforce in a different capacity.
“[T]he workers’ firm has shifted to a foreign country the production of articles like or directly competitive with the articles produced by the workers,” the DOL found.
The TydenBrooks subsidiary that oversaw the manufacturing of security seals in China was Tyden Security Seal Company, whose address, according to trade manifests, is No. 11 Worshop, Wujiang Export Processing Zone, Wujiang, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China.
While Nehlen served on the board of this Chinese manufacturer, the company shipped a total of 391 tons of security seals to U.S. distributors in a total of 78 shipments, trade documents show.
In a recent Internet radio interview, Nehlen talked about “one of my factories in China,” and how he was shocked to see the lifestyle of the people who worked for him. “These employees lived and slept and made babies in the dormitory. They raised their babies in the child-care and they all ate in the cafeteria and worked in the factory…didn’t we fight a war over slavery? That is what that is, indentured servitude,” he said.
According to Nehlen’s campaign website:
“TPA/TPP isn’t just another bad trade deal. It is NAFTA and CAFTA on steroids. It will decimate manufacturing and industry in Wisconsin’s 1st District and across the U.S. It won’t just lead to a massive flight of manufacturing and jobs from our shores. It will also result in massive numbers of workers being imported here from across our borders and overseas. In many cases, shamefully, those imported workers will be housed in closed compounds where they will be little more than slave labor or indentured servants on our own shores.”
But even while he rails against trade agreements on the campaign trail, Nehlen has never expressed remorse for managing a Chinese company that literally took the jobs of American workers in the security seal industry. Opposing trade deals is one thing, but opposing them while personally benefiting from them, participating in the benefits they offer, and using out-sourced jobs to further one’s own career is disingenuous and hypocritical.
Nehlen’s current firm is a shadow company that his campaign admits, according to an investigative report by Dan O’Donnell of WISN radio, has no regular paying clients.
Cross posted from MediaTrackers.org. Click here to see supporting documents.