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GOP candidate calling for 'confronting' China is executive at company doing business there

Pennsylvania House candidate Jeremy Shaffer claims America needs to ‘end our dependence on China,’ although the American company he works for has been contracted at least a dozen times in recent years to support infrastructure projects there.

By Kaishi Chhabra - November 02, 2022
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Republican candidate for Congress Jeremy Shaffer talking shortly after receiving the support of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge #1 in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.
Jeremy Shaffer, Republican candidate for Pennsylvania's 17th Congressional District, talks after receiving the support of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge #1 in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Republican candidate Jeremy Shaffer, who is running to represent Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District, claims he wants to “end our dependence on China,” but the company of which he is a vice president has had multiple contracts with organizations in China.

Shaffer, who is running against Democratic candidate Chris Deluzio, named “Confronting Communist China” as one of his top issues if he is elected. “While Russia is wreaking havoc, China is still the greatest foreign threat facing America,” his campaign website reads, “We need leaders willing to stand up to the Chinese Communist Party, end our dependence on China, and bring home the manufacturing of essential products. We need to stop taking a short-term view of China and develop a long-term strategy.”

As a business executive, though, Shaffer has made hundreds of thousands of dollars working at a corporation that helps support infrastructure development in China. According to his LinkedIn page, Shaffer currently works for Bentley Systems, a software provider, as a vice president of mobility.

Shaffer was the co-founder and president of InspectTech, a software company he helped start in 2003. InspectTech developed a product to monitor the safety of bridges and transportation infrastructure before it was acquired by Bentley Systems in 2012. Shaffer became an executive at Bentley after it acquired InspectTech.

In 2019 alone, Bentley Systems stated that its software was used in at least 14 unique projects in China, including the construction or operation of infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, utilities, and nuclear power development.

In a financial disclosure report submitted to the House in April 2022, Shaffer declared he had received a salary of $296,928.13 in 2021. That same year, Bentley Systems Software was used in the construction and operation of at least six unique projects in China.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran campaign ads in the last month criticizing Shaffer for getting “rich at a billion-dollar corporation that creates jobs in China” and saying, “Jeremy Shaffer sold us out to China.”

Shaffer was accused of illegally coordinating during his unsuccessful 2018 campaign for the Pennsylvania state Senate with a political action committee that provided lawn signs, mailers, and paid robocalls in the district criticizing his opponent.

Deluzio, the Democratic House candidate, is a war veteran and attorney who supports Democratic priorities that include the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, according to his campaign website’s “Defending Democracy” section.

This race between Shaffer and Deluzio is rated a toss-up by the Cook Political Report. The winner of the contest will replace Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb, who ran in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, in which he lost to Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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