Republicans Slam A123 Sale to Chinese Company

Bankrupt battery-maker received $133M in government grants once praised by Obama as 'success story,' now purchased by Wanxiang Group


A group of Republicans are sharply criticizing the auction of bankrupt battery-maker A123 to a Chinese company, Wanxiang Group.

Sens. Charles Grassley (Iowa) and John Thune (S.D.) are pressing a Treasury-led panel to consider whether the sale affects “American military and energy security,” Roll Call reported Monday.

A123 Systems, which produced lithium ion batteries for electric cars, filed for bankruptcy earlier this year after receiving $133 million of a $249 million grant from the federal government. Reuters reported Tuesday the United States government will not complete the transaction of the remainder of the grant following the auction; Wanxiang’s purchase does not include A123’s contracts with the Defense Department.

The deal also raises questions about taxpayer waste in President Barack Obama’s green energy initiative, Republicans say. The property was once praised by Obama as a “success story.”

“First of all, about 10 percent of all our borrowing comes from the Chinese, and then $133 million goes to A123, it goes bankrupt right away, we lose $123 million [sic], the Chinese benefit from it,” Grassley said Tuesday in an interview with Fox News.

A123 received $1 million from the federal government on the same day it filed for bankruptcy.