Barrasso to Granholm: No Taxpayer Money to Microvast

May 2, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm regarding the award of taxpayer funds to Microvast.

Read the full letter here and below.

Dear Secretary Granholm,

I write to you to formally request that the Department of Energy (Department) immediately terminate its award negotiations with Microvast, Inc. Since the Department’s announcement of this $200 million selection for award negotiation back in October 2022,[1] your Department has continued to ignore legitimate concerns of national and economic security associated with this award.

While you were before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Committee) on April 20, 2023, I presented to you clear evidence that the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Microvast participated in a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) talent program designed to entice overseas talent to return to China for the benefit of the CCP.[2] This should disqualify Microvast from receiving any federal funding based on your Department’s own standards. According to Deputy Secretary Turk’s testimony before the Committee on February 2, 2023, “any persons participating…in a foreign government-sponsored talent recruitment program…[are] prohibited from participating in projects selected for federal funding.”

Less than a year before your Department announced it would award hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to Microvast, its CEO bragged to Chinese media about Microvast’s strong ties to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). He stated, “It is a great honor that this is a technology we developed in our country, and this technology is all made by Chinese people, without any foreigners participating, it is a group of Chinese people who made this technology.”[3]

As I stated in my letter to you in December of last year, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was ostensibly intended to develop robust domestic manufacturing bases and supply chains free from the predations of the PRC. DOE’s distribution of $200 million in taxpayer funds to a company joined at the hip with China is demonstrably antithetical to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s intent.

Your Department stated in its reply to my December 2022 letter that your “post-selection” security review of awardees, including Microvast, is guided by a “Pilot Research, Technology, and Economic Security” vetting process. The fact that our national and economic security hinges on a newly-instituted pilot process that occurs after an awardee is selected is incredibly disturbing. This process should immediately be revised so that the process occurs before an awardee is selected.

Again, it is imperative the Department of Energy ends its award negotiations with Microvast. Department of Energy award processes for other companies with deep ties to the PRC must also be suspended until a robust, pre-selection security review process for awardees is finalized by your Department with input from other members of the intelligence community.

I request that you answer the following questions and provide the requested documentation by May 15, 2023. I look forward to your timely reply.