GOP leader ignored national security risk to help campaign donor


House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy fought against a bipartisan measure that would hurt one of his donors.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy ignored concerns over national security so he could help out a campaign donor last year, according to a Tuesday Washington Post report.

During funding negotiations to avoid a government shutdown earlier this year, McCarthy objected to a bipartisan provision to limit the ability of Chinese companies to win contracts with the U.S. transportation system, even though that provision's "goal was to protect U.S. national security and domestic manufacturing," the Post wrote.

McCarthy's objections are linked to BYD Motors, a division of a Chinese company that makes vehicles bought by local governments around the country, and that has a plant in McCarthy's district. McCarthy attended the 2017 ribbon-cutting ceremony for the plant and the president of BYD Motors, Stella Li, contributed more than $5,000 to McCarthy's campaign and affiliated political action committees.

BYD has received hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts in recent years, and concerns about BYD's influence in America's transit system causes bipartisan concern.

"What's been made abundantly clear by the Chinese government is they plan to assume a dominant position in the world by 2025 in all aspects, including economic," Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-MI) said at a recent House hearing. "This is a threat to the security of this nation."

"We really need to wake up. We need to understand what a threat this is and do something about it," Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) said at the hearing.

The author of the provision, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), brought up the issue of national security and also protecting American jobs. "I think we're right to try to protect America's national security interests but also protect our domestic producers against that sort of unfair competition," Cornyn told the Post.

But McCarthy overlooked the warnings brought by his colleagues. In the end, other members relented to McCarthy's demands out of fear he would derail the funding bill and plunge the country into another government shutdown, according to the Post.

"Kevin McCarthy has been championing a Chinese-owned company that is utilizing our tax dollars to gain a foothold in the American automotive industry," Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, told the Post. "This is a company that is clearly championed by the Chinese government that has ambitions to dominate the global auto market, and so giving a foothold to it in the American transit market . . . seems to be a really, really risky proposition."

When it comes to choosing between American national security or a campaign donor, it looks like McCarthy is more loyal to green than to red, white, and blue.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.