U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer calls CFIUS decision on Fufeng land deal 'underwhelming'
Cramer says he'll ask for a classified briefing from the Treasury Department and from the Department of the Air Force
GRAND FORKS — Days after the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States determined a proposed wet corn mill plant land deal does not fall under its jurisdiction, U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., discussed the outcome of the review during a Newsmax interview.
“I’ve come to expect so little from the federal government," Cramer said during the interview. "Even at that standard, this was underwhelming, to say the least. That they would sit on this decision for close to three months and then conclude they didn’t have jurisdiction — which some (Department of Justice) lawyer could have told them in a matter of hours — is disappointing.”
CFIUS, the federal panel tasked with reviewing the land deal, began the Fufeng review in October. The committee released the review on Monday, Dec. 12. In a statement released to the Herald the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 13, Cramer said he is seeking intelligence "directly from relevant agencies," though those agencies weren't named.
"I personally think that there is information that some of the agencies gleaned," Cramer said during the Newsmax interview. "That’s why I’ve asked for a classified briefing from the Treasury Department, which is the head of CFIUS, and from the Department of the Air Force, if not the entire Department of Defense, because they’re the entities that I’m most concerned about. Hopefully, I’ll at least learn with my clearance what (CFIUS) learned during this review. My sense is that there are serious concerns.”
Both Sens. Cramer and John Hoeven, R-N.D., have voiced their concerns over the months regarding the potential wet corn milling plant that Fufeng Group plans to build on the north end of Grand Forks. The company has ties to China.
“I’ve always been opposed to this investment. I remain opposed to this investment … At the end of the day, I think the security concerns are obvious," Cramer said during the Newsmax interview. "We’re talking about the Chinese Communist Party at a time when they have made it very clear that they want to take over more supply chains in the United States. They spy on us. They’re building a super military to rival us. I think it’s a bad idea to invite them into your backyard.”
In August, Cramer and Hoeven advised local and state leaders to not move forward with the Fufeng project, as both brought up security concerns they believe could exist with the plant's close proximity to Grand Forks Air Force Base.
On Wednesday, Dec. 14, Hoeven's office issued a statement regarding the review and continued concerns on security.
“As we cautioned, we understand that CFIUS has concluded the project is not within its jurisdiction but has not offered an opinion or released any details about potential security issues," the statement said. "We will get additional briefings from CFIUS and provide any additional information if we can, but we continue to have security concerns with this project, given its proximity to the Grand Forks Air Force Base.”