Ninth Congressional District candidate Dan McCready often talks about the role his company has played in expanding solar energy in North Carolina.
But a Republican super PAC - the Congressional Leadership Fund - has attacked McCready for his company’s investments in solar farms built by a company that has bought parts from China.
The allegations have sparked an intense back and forth between McCready’s company and the political action committee.
One of Dan McCready’s campaign themes is his company raising $80 million to help finance 36 North Carolina solar farms.
"Dan McCready made North Carolina a leader in solar power, he’s created good jobs for people like me. Dan McCready helped create hundreds of jobs that can’t be outsourced," says an ad.
But the Congressional Leadership Fund is criticizing McCready’s company, Double Time Capital, for helping to fund solar projects built by Durham-based Strata Solar.
The issue? China.
Strata has bought some parts for its solar farms from China. The Congressional Leadership Fund equates that to Double Time outsourcing jobs.
Calvin Moore, of the super PAC, said it’s hypocritical for Dan McCready to be on the campaign trail saying he’s going to get tough on China, complaining about trade deals that are clobbering American manufacturing only then for records to show that his own company was outsourcing parts from China.
McCready declined to comment for this story.
Double Time attorney John Wester said the company has not invested in Strata Solar and owns no part of the company. He said the Congressional Leadership Fund’s allegations are “demonstrably false,” and he has demanded a retraction.
"None of that is close to true. Just to get real specific, Double Time Capital – the company that Dan McCready and Rye Barcott began, it does not invest in, it does not own any interest in Strata Solar. It never has," Wester said.
A written rebuttal by Double Time said that it has not invested in Strata the company but that it did invest in three Strata solar farms.
Double Time said it has no role in buying the equipment to build the farms. It said blaming Double Time for that would be like blaming homeowners for the Chinese-made appliances that developers put in their houses.
Double Time also said Chinese-subsidized companies have devastated American solar manufacturing, making it difficult to buy domestic. It said that the farms it supported financially have created roughly 700 construction jobs in North Carolina and that “many” Double Time farms include 100 percent American-made panels and parts from Shelby.
McCready couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.
On Friday his campaign sent a statement that said McCready has "never outsourced a single job. In fact, I helped create 700 jobs right here in North Carolina while State Senator Bishop destroyed thousands of jobs."
McCready was referencing Bishop's co-sponsorship of House Bill 2 in 2016, which caused boycotts and some companies to cancel expansion or relocation plans in the state.
The super PAC also has tried to link Double Time to Strata’s relationship with the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Strata has bought inverters, which convert the power from a solar panel into an electrical current, from Huawei.
The United States is increasingly concerned that Huawei’s role in building a new 5G network could allow the Chinese government to spy on U.S. residents. But Double Time says the three Strata projects it funded opened in 2014 and 2015. It says Strata partnered with Huawei in 2016 to use the Chinese company’s inverters for future projects – none of which have received Double Time money.
"There is no connection between Double Time capital and these Chinese inverters that are produced by Huawei that somebody else bought except the words somebody like Fox News or [the Congressional Leadership Fund] or somebody else uses," Wester said.
Moore said Thursday that the Congressional Leadership Fund's statements are fair, and the organization has refused demands from Wester for a retraction.