House Republicans are asking for a briefing from Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on her family's financial ties to China after a Washington Free Beacon report on her husband's work for a tech company funded by the Chinese Communist Party.
In a Friday letter, Republican members said they had "significant concerns" about Chinese investment in PathAI, an artificial intelligence company that employs Raimondo's husband in a senior role. The company is funded by Danhua Capital, a Beijing-backed firm that invests in tech companies as part of the Chinese government's attempted "penetration of Silicon Valley."
"As the secretary of commerce, an agency central to America's competition with China, particularly when it comes to artificial intelligence, this revelation is deeply concerning and raises significant questions about obvious conflicts of interest and our strategic interests to lead on AI," the letter from Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.), Morgan Griffith (R., Va.), and Gus Bilirakis (R., Fla.) states.
The members ask Raimondo in the letter to answer several questions on PathAI, including whether she was aware of Chinese investment in PathAI and if she disclosed that knowledge to the Biden administration during the confirmation process. They additionally call on Raimondo to lay out whether her financial interest in PathAI has played a role in decisions regarding China, including how her agency has pushed back on efforts by others in the agency to block Chinese tech companies from partnering with American companies. The Commerce Department has argued that taking a tough-on-China approach would hurt U.S. companies, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Notably, and of particular concern given the revelation of your husband's employer's apparent ties to the Chinese Communist Party, the Commerce Department has reportedly been stalling efforts to blacklist certain Chinese technology companies and investments," the letter states.
Raimondo did not respond to Free Beacon inquiries about Chinese investment in PathAI. The Commerce Department declined to comment on the Friday letter.
In addition to throwing a lifeline to Huawei—a Chinese telecommunications company closely linked to the communists' brutal oppression of China's Muslim Uyghur population—Raimondo has opposed pressuring companies to boycott the Beijing Olympics next year and called for "robust" economic engagement with the Chinese.