Take a breath. I have those once in a while.
The Biden administration has just sent $530 million to two (count ’em, two) companies in deep Progressive-Democratic (I won’t say “blue;” that sullies the term used to describe our State and local police forces) Massachusetts so they can make batteries for battery-powered vehicles.
Ascend Elements and 6K Inc were recipients Wednesday [19 October] of more than $530 million in federal funding through a program designed to support battery manufacturing, recycling, and material processing for the electric vehicle market.
Massachusetts Progressive-Democrat Senators Edward Markey and Elizabeth Warren and Congressmen Jim McGovern and Seth Moulton all think the taxpayer money transfer is just peachy-keen.
Which brings me to my thought. The money has flowed. When the new Congressional session begins, Ascend and 6K will have had 2½ months by which to have committed at least some of that money. Of course, as serious companies, they already have had a year, or two, or more in which to plan their use of all that taxpayer money as they lobbied for it with their Massachusetts Congressional delegation.
If the Republican Party wins a majority in the House, and especially if it wins a majority in the Senate also, then by the end of January 2023, they should hale Mike O’Kronley and Andrew Aberdale, Ascend’s CEO and CFO respectively, before the relevant committees to testify, under oath, concerning the disposition of those moneys so far, and the concrete results obtained with those expenditures. The two should appear on the same day, but in separate committees, cycling through all of them separately so as to be unable to coordinate their responses in real time.
The same should be done with Aaron Bent and Gary Hall, 6K’s CEO and CFO, respectively.
Following that, House auditors to visit the two companies to audit their performance under the contracts. Such testimony and auditing subsequently should be done annually.
It’s a new concept—Congress exercising its oversight responsibility by actually monitoring private contractor performance rather than just paying lip service to the obligation—but it’s one that needs to be put into effect.