A new investigation from the New York Post revealed that Sherrod Brown secured over $25 million in federal funds to help sell an Ohio-based factory to a Chinese company—even as he claims to oppose a Biden nominee over ties to the same company.
Between 2008 and 2014, Brown played a key role in helping Chinese-owned Fuyao Glass make its “largest ever purchase in Ohio,” calling the acquisition “great news” and even attending the grand opening. And just last year, Brown accepted $3,300 from the Fuyao-tied Biden nominee he now claims to oppose.
“The facts speak for themselves: Sherrod Brown secured millions in taxpayer dollars to help a Chinese company buy out an American factory and Ohio workers paid the price. Voters can’t trust Sherrod Brown to put America first.” – NRSC Spokesman Philip Letsou
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Sen. Sherrod Brown opposes Biden trade pick over ties to Chinese glass firm he touted
January 29, 2024
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) has come out against President Biden’s pick for deputy US trade representative in part due to work that the nominee’s lobbying firm did for a Chinese glass company — even though Brown celebrated that same company’s purchase of an Ohio factory a decade ago.
The White House announced Jan. 11 that Nelson Cunningham had been tapped to oversee administration trade policy for the Western Hemisphere, Europe, the Middle East, labor and the environment, pending a Senate confirmation.
On Jan. 24, Brown released a blistering statement calling on Biden to “nominate someone” who would “be on the side of Ohio workers” instead.
The 71-year-old knocked Cunningham for having supported the Trans Pacific Partnership and his firm, McLarty Associates, for having “focused on lobbying for foreign interests, including lobbying for the Chinese company Fuyao Glass beginning in 2019.”
“My values have always been clear: I will only support trade nominees who have rejected the failed policies of the past and have a demonstrated record of standing on the side of workers,” the senator said.
“We should not have anyone leading our trade policy who advocated for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have been a terrible deal for Ohio workers,” Brown added. “TPP was written by corporations behind closed doors, lacked enforceable labor and currency standards, and would have undermined the American auto supply chain.”
But the Ohio Democrat touted the US subsidiary of the Chinese auto safety glass manufacturer, Fuyao Glass America, for buying up a former General Motors plant in 2014, calling the move “great news for the City of Moraine and the residents of the Miami Valley.”
Brown boasted of having secured more than $25 million in federal grants to redevelop the factory site after the 2008 recession with the help of a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate firm.
That firm, Industrial Realty Group, sold off portions of the plant to several companies between 2012 and 2014, with Fuyao becoming the anchor tenant after purchasing 1.4 million square feet for $15 million in May 2014, according to the Dayton Daily News.
One of the firm’s executives also told the outlet that Fuyao chairman Cao Dewang — who went on to become a deputy of Beijing’s National People’s Congress — was drawn to the Ohio plant because of its “good condition.”
Fuyao eventually invested $450 million into the factory — its largest-ever purchase in Ohio — and Brown spoke at the plant’s grand opening in October 2016.
“We worked together at all levels of government — federal, state, local — to bring new life to this historic plant, and support some 2,000 new jobs,” he said in a statement at the time. “This is how we create the manufacturing jobs of the future.”
In his statement opposing Cunningham, Brown faulted Fuyao for its “union busting activities in Dayton” made public in the 2019 Netflix documentary “American Factory,” but the film also reveals the company’s extensive pro-Beijing influence campaign on US workers.
One scene shows the company’s Chinese employees in a seminar discussing how to “take advantage of American characteristics to make them work for Fuyao,” noting that they tend to be “overconfident.”
“We need to use our wisdom to guide them and help them because we are better than them,” the seminar leader says bluntly.
“No one has been more aggressive in standing up to corporations that exploit Ohio workers than Sherrod Brown,” a spokesperson with his office told The Post. “Brown publicly challenged Fuyao to allow their workers to organize a union at the company’s 2016 grand opening in Dayton.”
“When Fuyao engaged in union busting, he aggressively and publicly held the company accountable for failing its workers,” the rep added. “Sherrod knows that Ohio has the best workers in the world and he’ll call out any company that illegally fights their right to organize.”