US Green Initiatives Benefit Top Officials’ Family Members With Ties to China: Cybersecurity Expert

By Hannah Ng
Hannah Ng
Hannah Ng
Reporter
Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.
and Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier
Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."
September 14, 2022 Updated: September 17, 2022

As the sweeping Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) (pdf) seeks to spend some $369 billion toward energy and climate programs over the next 10 years, those green initiatives will mostly benefit family members of top officials with ties to the Chinese regime, according to Rex Lee, a cybersecurity adviser at My Smart Privacy.

“There’s concern … that potentially lawmakers and or their family members stand to benefit [greatly] from legislation that they have influence over and are creating policy and making laws in Washington D.C.,” Lee told the “China in Focus” program on NTD News.

To prove this argument, he pointed to Tony Podesta, the brother of former Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta who recently joined the Biden administration to serve as a senior adviser on “clean energy innovation and implementation.”

John Podesta was tapped to “oversee implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act’s expansive clean energy and climate provisions and will chair the President’s National Climate Task Force in support of this effort,” the White House said on Sept. 2.

Yet, Tony Podesta, Lee said, “represents Huawei and their lobbying efforts go directly back to the White House, which means that … he has a direct line to [President] Joe Biden.”

“Huawei … is allowed to market in the United States as a result of having some of Trump and Obama’s executive orders repealed by the Biden administration,” he added.

The U.S. Department of Commerce officials in 2021 granted applications worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Chinese tech company Huawei—which was blacklisted under the Trump administration over national security concerns—to buy chips for its auto supply business.

“I think this is happening with green technology, as well … if you look at the lobbying efforts from the solar panel, panel manufacturers out of China, as well as the battery manufacturers out in China,” Lee opined.

The other conflict of interest that Lee further pointed out, arises from Altair International a lithium refining company in Pittsburgh, which has Paul Pelosi Jr., the son of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), as a member of its Advisory Board since December 2020.

Another “conflict of interest was Andre Heinz, who is the stepson of [U.S. Presidential Envoy for Climate] John Kerry,” Lee said. Heinz is on the board of green venture capital fund Obvious Ventures.

Another company named by Lee is BHR, a Chinese private equity firm, in which Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden held a 10 percent stake as of last May, according to company records.

BHR is reportedly backed by major state financial institutions such as the Bank of China and the China Development Bank Capital.

Lee said that it is concerning when “these family members are going to benefit or these families or these lawmakers are going to benefit financially from the laws that they’re legislating.”

Energy Dependence

With Democrats rolling out plans to ban gas-powered cars, the demand for materials to produce EV batteries such as lithium and cobalt, is expected to surge.

That increasing demand would make America become even more energy dependent on China, according to the expert.

“Ninety-five percent of cobalt mining is done in Africa through Chinese companies that have worked with the governments in Africa to mine the cobalt over there,” Lee said.

“Sixty-two percent of lithium will flow back through China as well,” he added.

BYD Company, the Chinese electric car and battery giant, had reached an agreement to acquire six lithium mines in Africa, according to a May 2021 report from China’s The Paper.

Lee further called for Americans to raise the issue of these lobbying efforts with their lawmakers.

“You can look up what companies are lobbying what laws and then write your lawmaker about these things … and hold your lawmaker accountable,” Lee said.

“We shouldn’t allow any foreign company … any companies from other countries to lobby. And that in itself is a threat to the United States and our ability to compete, much less let companies from adversarial nations such as China and Russia,” he said.

The Epoch Times reached out to Pelosi’s office and the Biden administration for comment.

Anne Zhang and Dorothy Li contributed to this report.

Hannah Ng
Reporter
Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master's degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.
Tiffany Meier is a New York-based reporter and host of NTD's "China in Focus."