At least one Republican in Congress says that Joe Biden’s choice for overseeing $1.2 trillion of taxpayer money for infrastructure spending should be disqualified from consideration. Former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu is Biden’s choice as “infrastructure czar.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) said that Biden should immediately reconsider Landrieu’s appointment because of his connections to the United States China Heartland Association.
Landrieu serves as a “strategic advisor” to the group that works with companies and NGOs that are part of the United Front system of the Chinese Communist Party in promoting their interests in the US.
Reta Jo Lewis is another adviser to the Heartland Association who has been appointed to an important governmental position by Biden. She is his nominee to head up the essential Export-Import Bank.
The Heartland Association is chaired by former Missouri governor Bob Holden, who has called for promoting more Chinese investment in America’s infrastructure projects. Holden says that America should accept Chinese involvement in our waterways, highways, and airports just as has happened in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
In the position of Infrastructure Czar, Landrieu will be expected to look over the allocation of public funds for the roads, internet, ports, and other named projects in the recently enacted infrastructure bill that is part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda. The bill requires, in some places, a preference for materials and contracting originating in the US. It allows the administrator to waive those preferences to allow foreign purchasing and contracting.
The Heartland Association has organized events that have promoted the Communist Party’s United Front, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, and the China-United States Exchange Foundation. This summer, the American group hosted a roundtable with the Chinese and American agriculture megacorporations Archer Daniels Midland, Deere & Co., and Syngenta Group.
American intelligence officials have warned the government about the China-United States Exchange Foundation in particular. That group has been alleged to attempt to influence American policymakers and lobbyists.