Brother of Biden’s clean energy advisor lobbies for Chinese mining company
03/05/2024 // Ava Grace // Views

Tony Podesta, the lobbyist brother of President Joe Biden's Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation John Podesta, is under scrutiny for lobbying on behalf of Chinese interests in the electric vehicle battery materials market.

This relationship has drawn attention due to potential conflicts with the Biden administration's clean energy investments and a 2021 executive order aimed at restoring ethics in government service.

Tony's connection to China was first highlighted in 2022, when a report from Judicial Watch noted the significant role his brother played in disbursing the administration's $370 billion worth of taxpayer-funded clean energy funds. (Related: Climate Emergency Fund is an eco-money laundering scheme.)

Tony's lobbying efforts earned him $40,000 in the last quarter of 2023 from Canadian Royalties (CRI), a company with major mining projects in Nunavik, Quebec, and is owned by Chinese firm Jilin Jien Nickel Industry. CRI focuses on the development of nickel and other critical minerals for the United States.

The Biden administration's commitment to EVs and clean energy, demonstrated through billions in investments and tax credits for EV buyers, alongside funding for charging infrastructure, underscores the relevance of Tony's lobbying work.

The relationship between CRI's Chinese ownership and the Biden administration's clean energy agenda, particularly given CRI's importance in the Canadian mining sector and its CEO James Xiang's ties to Chinese investment in global Canadian companies, raises ethical questions.

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CRI's acquisition by Jilin Jien in 2009 marked China's first hostile takeover attempt of a Canadian company, a move scrutinized for its implications on Canadian resource assets. James Xiang's role in facilitating over $2 billion in funding for Chinese companies and his leadership in organizations investing heavily in Canadian resources highlight the strategic interests of Chinese companies in the North American minerals market.

Federal government must investigate Podesta brothers

This is not the first time the Podestas were caught in an ethically compromising situation. In 2019, Tony was investigated by the Southern District of New York for potential violations of foreign lobbying rules.

In 2021, the same Podesta brother pocketed $1 million by lobbying Biden in favor of Chinese telecommunications. Instead of tapping the brakes on this questionable influence, Biden picked John to replace John Kerry and then put him in charge of the largest clean energy agency in the United States.

The White House said at the time that John would be Biden's voice on climate overseas and that he would dedicate a "significant amount of time" to climate diplomacy. However, John also retained his role in driving forward the domestic clean energy rollout, which is arguably a full-time job in itself.

Rather than moving to the State Department, John remained in the White House, with his role officially being international climate policy adviser to the president, rather than climate envoy, to sidestep a potentially fraught Senate confirmation process.

"He's going to do everything he can in the campaign to be able to make [climate] a key issue, and I'm going to do everything I can to help the president be able to be re-elected," said Kerry, who left to work on Biden's campaign.

John's dual role has prompted fears from some climate activists that he will be more focused on the effort to beat former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, in November rather than work with other countries to press forward last year's Cop28 agreement, in which governments agreed to "transition away" from fossil fuels.

The appointment "casts a shadow of doubt over the United States' commitment to global climate leadership," said Harjeet Singh, a veteran climate campaigner who predicted that John will "tread even more cautiously on the international stage" than Kerry.

Watch this video that talks about Biden failing on all the issues Americans care about.

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