Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), who holds one of the more vulnerable Senate seats on the map in November, claims to be tough on China, while the majority of his party turns a blind eye to the corruption of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
In a May campaign ad, Sen. Peters asserted that he has “always been tough on China:”
“I’ve always been tough on the Chinese government. Supporting the China travel ban, demanding the truth about the spread of COVID-19 and I’m fighting to take back production of life-saving drugs and medical supplies from China, so we’ll never be held hostage,” the Democratic incumbent said.
Sen. Peters’ own record does not support his claim of being “tough” on the CCP. The Michigan Democrat praised the CCP’s “response” to coronavirus in the early stages, claiming that the Chinese government “instituted some very, very aggressive actions around Wuhan province.” Sen. Peters also did not publicly support the Chinese travel ban, as fellow Democrats called the move “xenophobic” and “racist.” Once the president’s bold move to ban travel was proven to be effective, Sen. Peters claimed to be a staunch supporter.
Sen. Peters’s campaign has also received an abundance of donations from companies tied to the Chinese government.
From employees at the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Sen. Peters received $19,400 in campaign contributions, while the firm is listed as a registrant for a Chinese foreign principle, technology company Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. Sen. Peters received $22,200 in donations from employees at Capitol Counsel LLC, a firm listed as a registrant for both the China-United States Exchange Foundation and The U.S.- China Transpacific Foundation, and both groups are identified as Chinese foreign principles. From employees at BGR Group, a bipartisan lobbying firm, the Michigan Democrat took $5,500 as the group is also listed as a registrant for the China-United States Exchange Foundation. Employees at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw gave Sen. Peters $1,900 while they are listed as a registrant for another Chinese foreign principle, iFLYTEK Co. The Michigan Democrat’s campaign benefited also from employees at Patton Boggs, to the tune of $16,000, while the corporate firm is listed as a registrant for the Embassy Of The People's Republic Of China. Sen. Peters took $2,000 from employees at the global law firm Steptoe & Johnson, which is also listed as a registrant for Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. Finally, the vulnerable Democrat received $500 from employees at Levick, a public relations firm listed as a registrant for China Telecom (Americas) Corporation, which is listed as a Chinese foreign principle.
These donations total to $67,500 in campaign donations from companies with ties to China or that receive money from the Chinese government.
"Gary Peters talks tough on China in TV ads that were funded in part by contributions from lobbyists who work for the Chinese government," said Tori Sachs, a consultant to Better Future MI Fund. "Peters is just another politician saying whatever it takes to get reelected. It's no wonder he doesn't want to lose his position since he has doubled his wealth to over $4 million during his decade in D.C."
Sen. Peters’ “tough on China” facade does not match his willingness to take donations from companies with ties to the Chinese government.