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Slotkin challenger ties Democrat to Chinese company in Michigan Senate primary

EXCLUSIVE — A Democrat running against Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) for Michigan’s open Senate seat is piling on to Republican criticism of the lawmaker’s alleged ties to a Chinese-linked company. Hill Harper, a black actor and long-shot primary opponent of the establishment-backed Slotkin, brought up accusations she signed a nondisclosure agreement to discuss a proposed […]

EXCLUSIVE — A Democrat running against Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) for Michigan’s open Senate seat is piling on to Republican criticism of the lawmaker’s alleged ties to a Chinese-linked company.

Hill Harper, a black actor and long-shot primary opponent of the establishment-backed Slotkin, brought up accusations she signed a nondisclosure agreement to discuss a proposed Michigan plant by Chinese-affiliated electric vehicle battery maker Gotion, according to video obtained by the Washington Examiner.

“There’s no question that the Chinese government is no friend of ours, and I want to do whatever it takes to stop them,” Harper told voters Monday at an event just outside of Detroit. “I’m not so sure my opponent feels the same way.”


The Slotkin campaign told the Washington Examiner that the allegation “has been debunked several times” and pointed to a Detroit News investigation that found a Slotkin staffer signed an NDA with Gotion but an NDA signed by Slotkin related only to discussions with semiconductor manufacturer Micron and General Motors for an EV battery plant.

That hasn’t thwarted her opponents on both sides of the aisle from viewing the episode as a political vulnerability at the ballot box in one of the country’s key battleground Senate races. The seat is being vacated by retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).  

“She signed an NDA with a Chinese government-backed company called Gotion that you’ve seen in the news recently,” Harper said of Slotkin. “The company was actually suing a Michigan municipality recently. And I’m not sure why our congresspeople are signing NDAs with Chinese-backed companies. You’ll have to ask her, but since it’s an NDA, she probably can’t tell you. But I promise you this: I will never, as your senator, sign a nondisclosure agreement with a Chinese-backed company. It would never happen. China and Russia are our country’s biggest threats.”

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Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), left, talks with Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, in Lansing, Michigan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

The Harper campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Gotion filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the township north of Grand Rapids where it’s slated to build its factory, accusing local officials of blocking its $2.4 billion EV battery plant.

NDAs appear to be popular among Michigan politicians, with the Detroit News finding that nearly 1 in 5 lawmakers from the Great Lakes State have signed such agreements with a state agency on potential projects subsidized by taxpayers.

“To be briefed on the basic details, the congresswoman and these staff members signed the agreements, per [Michigan Economic Development Corporation] guidelines,” a Slotkin spokesperson told the outlet last year.

The campaign arm of Senate Republicans has repeatedly slammed Slotkin over her ties to Gotion, dubbing her “Shanghai Slotkin.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

Tensions have flared in recent months in the Democratic primary for the high-profile Senate seat. The Washington Examiner reported other leaked footage of Harper from a campaign event last month, at which he told supporters that Slotkin was pandering to black voters and has engaged in “performative” politics by beefing up her team with “a whole bunch of black folks from Detroit” while employing none in her congressional offices.

Slotkin is likely to face former Rep. Mike Rogers, a Republican endorsed by former President Donald Trump, in the general election. But first, the two candidates must advance out of Michigan’s Senate primaries on Aug. 6.

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