Las Vegas, NV – Today, Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston reported on audio of accidental Congressman Cresent Hardy speculating last month at a Republican meeting that the Faraday Future site is actually a Chinese plot to steal U.S. military secrets. Instead of walking back his baseless accusations about the electric car manufacturer, which is poised to create thousands of jobs in the 4thCongressional District, Hardy’s office actually doubled down on these insane conspiracy theories.
“Congressman Hardy’s baseless conspiracy theories about Faraday Future coming to Nevada as a subversive Chinese plot to steal U.S. military secrets are positively Trumpian,” said Nevada State Democratic Party spokesman Stewart Boss.“While Ruben Kihuen has been an actual vocal supporter of Faraday’s economic investment in North Las Vegas, Hardy has been radio silent on this deal for the past eight months. Once again, Congressman Hardy is taking shots at a bipartisan package signed by Governor Sandoval that will help lift up Nevada’s economy – yet another proof point that Hardy is out of touch with his district and too extreme even for his own party.”
Break out the popcorn and read all about it here:
BY: Jon Ralston
UPDATED: Gov. Brian Sandoval directly contradicted Hardy’s assertions, saying the military had no concerns:
“Prior to the partnering with the state, Faraday Future went through the federal Committee for Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) process which includes participation from 15 major federal departments and passed without concern. The military was notified and did not provide any negative feedback. If the Congressman has concerns, the Governor would urge him to contact the company or the Governor’s Office of Economic Development considering a majority of the future employees will likely come from his congressional district.”
POSTED: Aug 17, 2016
Rep. Cresent Hardy raised concerns last month that the Chinese could use the Faraday Future site in North Las Vegas as a place to “steal intellectual property.”
Hardy said military installations in Nevada are “terrified” of Faraday Future locating in North Las Vegas because of the company’s Chinese backers.
“They are sitting here at our Air Force bases all over this country watching things go, watching things come, stealing our intellectual property,” Hardy said during a Q & A with a GOP women’s club late last month. (The audio was captured by a Democratic tracker who attended the July 21 meeting of the Active Republican Women of Las Vegas.) “They are scared to death that when you have an electronic plan, what they are going to put in there to steal intellectual property. Why did they come to Las Vegas? Why did they pick the most choice piece of property for targeting Nellis and Creech?”
So Faraday is going to put something at its car factory to steal secrets? Yes, he was just raising questions, but….
When I asked about these comments, Hardy, through a spokesman, did not back away from the notion that there may be security concerns about the Apex location of the company, which is backed by a Chinese billionaire. The Legislature approved Gov. Brian Sandoval’s deal to bring the electric startup to North Las Vegas in a special session last year.
“Anytime a foreign-owned company is in near proximity of a major military installation we have an obligation to ensure the safety of our community and the security of the base and the men and women working at that base,” Hardy’s campaign spokesman, Ross Hemminger, told me.
Hemminger asserted that Hardy “has been a vocal supporter of Faraday coming to North Las Vegas and will continue to work with Governor Sandoval and local leaders to bring new jobs and new opportunity to Nevada.” I could find no evidence of this “vocal support,” so I asked his congressional spokesman, Larry Farnsworth, who said:
“Let me start off by telling you that you’re not likely to find anything specifically on us supporting the Faraday project. And the reason is because Faraday is a private company and it would be inappropriate for our office to invest our efforts to help one private company. He speaks to groups all around (the district) and the Congressman points to this project as an example of the types of economy opportunities that can be had in Southern Nevada.”
I suppose one might wonder why he would be so supportive if he considers it a security risk based on what he has been told.
I have reached out to Sandoval to see if he had or has any concerns about Chinese infiltration at the Faraday site. The governor has never said that was a worry, and his spokeswoman today pointed out there is a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States process for such projects.
I’ve also reached out to the two bases — Hemminger suggested I do so because he said Hardy is not “just making this up as he goes along.”
I will update the post if and when I receive answers from the governor and the military folks.
Here’s the full transcript of what Hardy said after being asked about the project, and the audio is below:
I’m going to tell you something that I want everything to be comfortable around me, especially in my district, and that’s my district. Here’s one of the concerns that I have; Chinese company, and I didn’t know this until I got to Congress. This is not a confidential thing that I can’t tell you, but Nellis and Creech are terrified of Faraday. I didn’t know this until they talked to me, and…. that left the door open that our military with Nellis Air Force can come and do a random check of Faraday. Chinese company, they don’t agree with me, they steal our intellectual properties. They are sitting here at our Air Force bases all over this country watching things go, watching things come, stealing our intellectual property. They are scared to death that when you have an electronic plan, what they are going to put in there to steal intellectual property. Why did they come to Las Vegas? Why did they pick the most choice piece of property for targeting Nellis and Creech? Every plane that comes in and out, goes over that spot over there. So that’s their concern. I’m not saying that’s going to happen to us …. If we don’t listen to our military people then I guess we really are stupid like Hillary Clinton so… I think it’s a great thing if it’s done right that we can watch them.”