U.S. Sen. Mike Braun felt strongly that creating a congressional commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol was the wrong move for the country. That much is clear.
“I do not support the creation of a partisan commission that seeks to exploit this tragedy for political gain,” the Indiana Republican said in a statement late last month, ignoring the fact that the panel would have included members of both parties.
What isn't clear is why he didn't cast a ballot on such an important question. Braun was one of 11 senators – two Democrats and nine Republicans – to skip a May 28 vote on whether to create the commission.
He hasn't offered any insight, and emails from The Journal Gazette to his office have not been returned. Instead, the state's junior senator has echoed conservative talking points about partisan exploitation and ongoing investigations by the FBI and others about the Capitol riot that left five people dead.
Braun's opposition to the commission wasn't unique among GOP members of Indiana's congressional delegation, but his decision not to vote is.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, voted no. So did Sen. Todd Young.
A measure that would have created the commission passed the House, but not the Senate.
Braun, still in his first term, has missed 2.3% of Senate votes this session, according to nonprofit news organization ProPublica. Its website lists five missed votes.