Democratic Michigan Rep. Elissa Slotkin voted against a bill Thursday that would rein in efforts to ban gas-powered cars after she reportedly signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) covering confidential development projects, including one by a Chinese Communist Party-linked electric vehicle (EV) battery company.
Slotkin, who is running for a seat in the Senate in 2024, voted against the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act, which would “amend the Clean Air Act to prevent the elimination of the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles.” In January 2022, Slotkin reportedly signed an NDA with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) covering “any potential development project identified as confidential,” which would include projects of Chinese Communist Party-linked Gotion Inc., according to Fox News.
The bill would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing future waivers to the Clean Air Act that allow states like California to pursue tighter pollution standards than those set by the federal government, and would also force the EPA to cancel any waivers issued since January 2022 that would “directly or indirectly limit the sale or use of new motor vehicles with internal combustion engines,” according to the bill’s text.
Gotion Inc. is an EV battery firm that is planning to build two plants near Big Rapids, Michigan, within about 100 miles of a U.S. military site that has hosted Taiwanese soldiers to receive training from the Michigan National Guard. The company also has deep ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through its parent company, China-based Gotion High-Tech. The parent firm employs numerous CCP members, including its CEO, and previously established a joint venture company with a firm linked to the Chinese military.
Make no mistake: this is about more than just Russia and Ukraine. China is watching our every move to see if the international community will stand up against Putin’s aggression. This is a moment to show that we won’t let them rewrite the next century. pic.twitter.com/mT9T69qUmy
— Rep. Elissa Slotkin (@RepSlotkin) February 22, 2022
Gotion Inc. agreed to a confidentiality agreement with the MEDC in December 2021, approximately one month before Slotkin inked her NDA with the MECD, Fox News reported. Slotkin’s agreement was amended in December 2022 to include two redacted projects and to clarify that it broadly applies to “any potential development project identified as confidential,” which would include Gotion Inc.’s project in the state, Fox News reported.
Representatives for Slotkin have maintained that she has not entered into an NDA related to the Gotion Inc. project; however, according to Fox News, her NDA covers “confidential” projects, which would therefore include the Gotion development project.
“For a former CIA officer and sitting member of Congress who has had a TS/SCI security clearance, and has been read in by our intel agencies on the existential national security threat of China, it is highly irregular for Elissa Slotkin, and a staff member, to have signed binding and punitive NDAs with the MEDC involving a PRC-based company with deep ties to the CCP,” Joseph Cella, a former U.S. ambassador and co-founder of the Michigan-China Economic and Security Review Group, told the DCNF.
“On its face, this was a reckless decision Elissa Slotkin made and shows a gross lack of prudential judgment,” Cella said. “Federal, state and local elected officials, on a bi-partisan basis, have been briefed that such ‘deals’ are considered subnational incursions and influence operations.”
Slotkin has described China as an adversary to the U.S. in the past. She also praised fellow Democrats for “[passing] bills to incentivize American manufacturing and bring supply chains home from places like China.”
Slotkin also lauded legislation aimed at enhancing ethics and disclosure standards for Supreme Court Justices as “a step towards ensuring transparency and accountability” in a key institution, but she has not yet gone on the record to describe the nature of her NDA and its reported relation to Gotion Inc.
In addition to the reported NDA agreement, Slotkin also appears to have benefited from donations funneled to her by lobbyists hired by Gotion Inc., Fox News reported Monday.
“While Elissa Slotkin in the past has called for transparency, this ‘deal’ has been hushed and rushed by the State of Michigan, using code names and NDAs, and is among the worst examples of government operating in secret,” Cella told the DCNF.
Gotion Inc., which is listed as a Chinese foreign principal in filings with the Department of Justice, is also set to build another subsidized facility in Manteno, Illinois, which will be within 30 miles of two other U.S. military installations.
Gotion Inc. North American Manufacturing vice president Chuck Thelen has asserted that the CCP does not maintain a presence in the U.S.-based arm of the company, according to Politico.
However, Gotion High-Tech, Gotion Inc.’s parent company, employed 923 active members of the Chinese Communist Party as of 2022, including CEO Li Zhen, as reported previously by the DCNF. CCP officials also established a talent recruitment “work station,” a key tactic that CCP officials use to attract Western talent to work in the Chinese mainland, at Gotion Inc.’s Fremont, California, headquarters in 2017, the DCNF reported.
Additionally, employees of Gotion High-Tech made CCP oaths and dressed as Red Army soldiers during company excursions, the DCNF previously reported. Numerous Gotion High-Tech employees wore matching Red Army uniforms while swearing to “fight for communism to the end of my life.”
Slotkin’s Senate campaign, the MEDC, Gotion Inc. and Gotion High-Tech all did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
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