Thune, Grassley against Fisker sale to Chinese company

Sens. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyMnuchin, Price meet with GOP senators Business groups express support for Branstad nomination 10 no-brainer ways to cut healthcare costs without hurting quality MORE (R-Iowa) and John ThuneJohn ThuneOvernight Tech: Last-ditch effort to get Dem FCC commish confirmed | Facebook's Sandberg on fake news | Microsoft completes LinkedIn deal FCC chairman willing to resign to get colleague confirmed Overnight Tech: AT&T, Time Warner CEOs defend merger before Congress | More tech execs join Trump team | Republican details path to undoing net neutrality MORE (R-S.D.), the third ranking Republican in the Senate, said they are against a potential sale of Fisker Automative Inc., manufacturer of the $103,000 Karma, to Dongfeng Motor Corp., a Chinese car company.

Other Chinese companies have also submitted bids for Fisker. Dongfeng's bid is reportedly for $350 million.

"Technology developed with American taxpayer subsidies should not be sold off to China. I hope there’s at least some accountability at the Department of Energy, but given its track record, I’m not holding my breath," Grassley said according to Bloomberg News on Tuesday.

Fisker still owes $200 million to the Department of Energy for a loan the agency gave the company in 2012.

Grassley compared Fisker to to A123 Systems Inc., which was given a $129 million loan from the Department of Energy. A123 eventfully filed for bankruptcy and then was bought by a Chinese company.

"Like A123, this looks like another example of taxpayer dollars going to a failed experiment," Grassley said.

Thune said companies that receive grants from the Obama administration seem destined to be sold to Chinese companies. 

"Obama's green energy investments appear to be nothing more than venture capital for eventual Chinese acquisitions," Thune said in a separate email statement. "In June of 2012, Sen. Grassley and I asked the DOE about possible foreign ownership of Fisker. After stimulus-funded A123 was just acquired by a Chinese-based company, it’s troubling to see that yet another struggling taxpayer-backed company might be purchased under duress by a Chinese company."