by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Collin Anderson writes for the Washington Free Beacon about a Biden administration official who worked to help the communist Chinese government.
When China’s largest solar companies faced costly U.S. tariffs, they turned to industry veteran Jigar Shah to lobby on their behalf. Now, President Joe Biden is handing that same man hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to invest in green energy companies, prompting concern that the money could benefit Beijing.
Shah in late 2011 partnered with three Chinese solar giants to form the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy, a nonprofit that mounted an aggressive campaign to kill U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar panels. As the group’s president, Shah said evidence that his Chinese clients accepted illegal subsidies from Beijing was merely part of an “anti-China crusade.” He also argued that American consumers could not afford solar panels without cheap Chinese goods, stressing the need for the two nations to “work together to solve our planet’s energy and environmental crisis.”
Years later, China could again stand to benefit from Shah’s work. Biden Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in March 2021 tapped Shah to run the department’s Loan Programs Office, which is expected to flood the China-dominated green energy industry with billions of taxpayer dollars in the coming months. Shah’s leading role in distributing that money—and the Biden administration’s history of supporting Beijing-backed companies — have China hawks concerned that Biden’s push to usher in a “clean energy economy” will ultimately benefit America’s top adversary.
Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, for example, highlighted one loan application Shah’s office is considering from Lithium Americas. The Canadian company—which plans to mine tens of thousands of tons of lithium from a site in northern Nevada—counts a Chinese mineral giant with ties to the Chinese Communist Party as its largest shareholder, the Washington Free Beacon reported in September. Still, at an industry conference three months later, Lithium Americas expressed confidence that it will secure a loan from Shah’s office to fund the mine, according to a conference attendee. For Pompeo, that possibility is a troubling one.