Chinese Communist-Linked Battery Maker Breaks The Bank On Lobbying Amid Congressional Scrutiny

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Jake Smith Contributor
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A Chinese Communist Party-linked company planning to build electric vehicle battery factories inside the U.S. has already spent over $1 million on lobbying in 2024, according to public disclosures.

Battery manufacturing company Gotion Inc., a “wholly owned and controlled” subsidiary of the China-based and CCP-tied company Gotion High-Tech, is planning to build facilities in Michigan and Illinois. Gotion has spent roughly $1.2 million on lobbying efforts already in 2024 amid a push from Republican lawmakers to prevent the firm from tapping tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Parent Of US Battery Maker Participated In Communist Party Programs That Acquire Tech For China’s Military)

A Gotion executive said in October that the company is eligible to receive taxpayer subsidies because it falls in compliance with IRA regulations. Gotion could receive roughly $7.5 billion in taxpayer subsidies for its factory in Illinois, which is expected to cost $2 billion. With an additional $536 million state subsidy package, the combined total in subsidies would exceed $8 billion.

Republican Michigan Rep. John Moolenaar, the incoming chair of the House Select Committee on the CCP, advanced legislation last year alongside Republican Illinois Rep. Darin LaHood that would prevent Gotion from accessing IRA tax credits. Moolenaar told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement that a company like Gotion, given its ties to the CCP, shouldn’t be eligible for that IRA benefit.

“Gotion is a CCP-affiliated company trying to expand foreign influence over America so it can receive billions of dollars in benefits from hardworking American taxpayers,” Moolenaar told the DCNF in a statement. “Everyone should agree that we cannot allow a company affiliated with the CCP to receive tax dollars. Congress should pass my NO GOTION Act, so we are prioritizing American innovation, instead of subsidizing the CCP’s control of the future.”

From the beginning of January to the end of March 2024, Gotion Inc. spent over $695,000 on in-house lobbying for matters “related to U.S. China Trade” and “to any follow on to IRA (Energy production tax credits),” according to a disclosure filed on April 23. The $695,000 includes funds spent on activities performed by Gotion itself and by Donald J. Morrissey, a registered lobbyist whom the firm hired to do in-house lobbying work.

Morrissey previously worked on Capitol Hill and as the vice president of government relations at Futurewei Technologies, the U.S.-based research branch of the Chinese-based firm Huawei Technologies, a company blacklisted and sanctioned by the U.S., according to E & E News.

Two separate disclosures reveal additional lobbying efforts by Gotion; the firm paid Mercury Public Affairs, a global public strategy firm, $400,000 between Jan. 1 and March 31 to lobby the Biden administration on “clean energy technology,” “foreign direct investment” and “trade and economic development,” according to a disclosure filed on April 10. The Vogel Group, a Washington D.C.-based consulting firm, received $120,000 from Gotion to lobby Congress on the same issues, according to a disclosure filed April 19. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Exec At US Battery Manufacturer Pictured At Chinese Communist Party Meetings)

“The Chinese Communist Party, and companies it controls like Gotion, are exploiting taxpayer-funded subsidies meant for American companies and friendly countries that make things here,” Rubio told the DCNF in a statement, pointing to legislation he spearheaded that would bar Gotion from tax credits. Congress needs to pass my Protecting American Advanced Manufacturing Act to prevent Chinese companies like Gotion from benefiting.”

Gotion High Tech stated that it maintains an internal CCP committee, according to the firm’s 2022 ESG report. As of 2022, Gotion High-Tech employed over 900 members of the CCP, including CEO Li Zhen.

“The Company shall set up a Party organization and carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China. The Company shall ensure necessary conditions for carrying out Party activities,” reads Gotion High-Tech’s “Articles of Association.”

Though Gotion Vice President Chuck Thelen has consistently denied that the American company, Gotion Inc., has been “penetrated” by the CCP, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation previously found a senior company executive had attended multiple meetings with CCP officials in China.

Many Michigan residents have become angered by Gotion’s plans to build a factory in the state; residents voted to remove the majority of the Green Charter Township board in November over their handling of the Gotion issue.

Gotion Inc., Mercury Public Affairs and the Vogel Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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