House Republicans sent a letter to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Friday demanding answers about her family’s financial ties to China following a report that her husband works for a tech company funded by the Chinese government.
The Washington Free Beacon revealed on Tuesday that Secretary Raimondo’s husband, Andy Moffit, is a top executive at artificial intelligence company PathAI. PathAI has received financial contributions from Danhua Capital, a California-based company that receives financial support from the Chinese Communist Party.
Reuters reported in 2018 that Danhua Capital was established and funded by the Chinese government as part of its “penetration of Silicon Valley.”
House Republicans wrote:
As the Secretary of Commerce, an agency central to America’s competition with China, particularly when it comes to artificial intelligence (AI), this revelation is deeply concerning and raises significant questions about obvious conflicts of interest and our strategic interests to lead on AI.
Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA.), and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) signed the letter to Raimondo.
The Republican representatives highlighted a recent Wall Street Journal report that said, “leaders at the Commerce Department remain opposed” to adding more Chinese tech companies to the Treasury’s list of banned U.S. investments.
In September, Raimondo gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal wherein she advocated for “robust commercial engagement” with China. In addition, she also opposed urging American companies to pull their advertising dollars out of the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. “What individual companies do is entirely up to them. We’re not going to pressure them one way or another,” Raimondo said.
The Republicans requested Raimondo answer a series of 11 questions that aim to better understand the Secretary and her husband’s ties to China.
“Have you or your staff contacted anyone on the National Economic Council regarding PathAI?” one of the questions asked. “Have you or your staff taken any meetings with any company or entity at the request of anyone from PathAI?” another question asked.
The three Republicans asked Raimodo if she agreed that the People’s Republic of China poses a “humanitarian, national security, and economic security threat to the United States.
They also requested Raimodo outline the specific policies she has in place to ensure her husband or PathAI do not influence her or her staff.