The negatives appear to outweigh the positives for the proposed Gotion electric-vehicle battery component plant in Green Charter Township in Mecosta County, prompting Gotion to spend what some say is close to $1 million mounting a public relations and lobbying campaign.

The opposition to the battery plant, dubbed Project Elephant, has grown from a local effort that saw the ousting of five members of the Township Board and resignation of the two remaining members last November to the chambers of the U.S. Congress earlier this week and Tuesday’s failed legislative attempt to require Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Development report any foreign connections of a company receiving state-approved, taxpayer-funded incentives.

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“As we witnessed with the negligent misappropriation of Michigan taxpayer dollars toward the Gotion battery plant, it is prudent that we install failsafe mechanisms to ensure our dollars are not directed to an entity with ties to one our enemies,” Luke Meerman, R-Coopersville, said in a statement after his amendment failed on Tuesday. “That investment should have never happened. The budget that was passed out of our Labor and Economic Opportunity Subcommittee failed to increase security measures for the [Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve] fund.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration committed $715 million for the Gotion plant, comprised of $125 million grant for a local job creation requirement; $540 million to establish a 30-year Renaissance Zone in Mecosta County; and another $50 million Strategic Site Readiness Program performance-based grant. Those transfers were approved by the Democrat-controlled Michigan Senate.

Opposition to the proposed $2.4 billion 3-million square-foot plant began to percolate after suspicions arose when it was revealed Gotion bylaws required employees to pledge fealty to the Chinese Communist Party. The same concerns prompted questions from Big Rapids Township, which is adjacent to GCT and also intended for the Project Elephant site. BRT’s concerns resulted in Gotion canceling its plans in the township to focus only on GCT.

For its part, Gotion’s U.S. officials deny any connection to the People’s Republic of China and the CCP, denials refuted by Michigan’s U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland, who told The Midwesterner: “Gotion is a CCP-affiliated company trying to expand foreign influence over America so it can receive billions of dollars in benefits from hardworking American taxpayers. Everyone should agree that we cannot allow a company affiliated with the CCP to receive tax dollars. Congress should pass my NO GOTION Act, so we are prioritizing American innovation, instead of subsidizing the CCP’s control of the future,” he said.

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NO GOTION, an acronym for No Official Giveaways Of Taxpayers’ Income to Oppressive Nations, was introduced last fall. If passed into law, it would prohibit companies based in China, or the subsidiaries of those companies, from receiving green energy tax credits established under President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Rising national opposition to Gotion’s aggressive buildout campaign in Michigan, Illinois, and other U.S. locations, prompted the company to hire two lobbying firms to promote its cause in the U.S. Congress. According to, Gotion spent a $280,000 in 2023 for the Vogel Group and Mercury Public Affairs lobbying groups.

According to former U.S. Ambassadors Joseph Cella and Peter Hoekstra, the amount spent by Gotion to lobby for its U.S. facilities is actually closer to $1 million.

“Gotion and its parent company Guoxuan have spent $975,000 between November of 2023 and March of 2024,” the former ambassadors told The Midwesterner in an email. “This should be a red flag and is likely another manifestation of Gotion’s subnational incursion and influence operation underway in the United States. It makes one wonder what are they asking for? Do they want special treatment in hopes of not being designated as a Foreign Entity of Concern? Do they want the concerns of the national security threat they present to go away?”

The duo’s email continued: “PRC-based and CCP-tied Gotion and its parent company Guoxuan present national security concerns, similar to Huawei did before they were blacklisted and their equipment banned in the United States because of the national security risk.”

Cella and Hoekstra also noted that the U.S. Congress and Pentagon banned the purchase and use of Gotion’s battery farms from military installations, and mandated that Gotion remove any current U.S. battery farms.

“Our national security and intelligence agencies have warned a bipartisan group of elected officials and business leaders over the national security PRC-based and CCP-tied companies like Gotion present,” they wrote. “Because Gotion is under Congressional scrutiny and at least one executive branch agency, they have turned to paying high-priced lobbying and public relations firms to help them get the answers they demand.”