Blacklisted Huawei Pays Half a Million to Lobbyist to Influence White House

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Chinese tech elephantine Huawei paid longtime Democrat lobbyist Tony Podesta $500,000 from July to September to lobby the White House, according to a caller authorities lobbying disclosure report.

It’s not wide what policies Podesta lobbied connected oregon whom helium mightiness person contacted astatine the White House. According to the disclosure form, it stated that lobbying was for “issues related to telecommunication services and impacted commercialized issues.” Huawei hired Podesta successful July.

The disclosure comes astatine a clip erstwhile the Biden medication is nether adjacent scrutiny for its policies toward Huawei. More importantly, the revelation came little than a period aft the company’s main fiscal serviceman Meng Wanzhou was allowed to instrumentality to China aft the Department of Justice inked a deal with her.

Huawei was founded by Meng’s begetter Ren Zhengfei, who was a erstwhile Chinese subject official. In May 2019, the tech institution was enactment connected a trade blacklist by the Trump medication connected nationalist information grounds. The commercialized prohibition was expanded successful August past year, erstwhile the institution was prevented from acquiring U.S. semiconductors, tiny chips that powerfulness everything from cellphones, electrical vehicles, to rocket systems.

In December 2020, Ajit Pai, who was then-chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), warned (pdf) astir the threats posed by Huawei, saying the institution has adjacent ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese quality communities, and those ties are astatine “every level of the company.”

“The concerns astir Huawei aren’t conscionable hypothetical: Independent entities person identified galore security vulnerabilities successful Huawei instrumentality and recovered it to beryllium little unafraid than that of different companies—perhaps deliberately so,” Pai stated.

A White House authoritative told CNBC, which archetypal reported connected the lobbying disclosure report, that it had thing to bash with Meng’s release, erstwhile asked astir the lobbying.

“This was a instrumentality enforcement substance that was wholly successful the Justice Department’s hands—not a argumentation matter,” the White House authoritative stated.

The authoritative added: “President Biden and this medication judge integer infrastructure instrumentality made by untrustworthy vendors, similar Huawei, airs a menace to the information of the U.S., our allies, and our partners. Export controls against Huawei stay successful place.”

Huawei spent astir $3 cardinal connected lobbying successful 2019, according to information from OpenSecrets, a Washington-based probe radical that tracks wealth successful U.S. politics. That year, the wealth targeted the White House, the Department of Commerce, and the Bureau of Industry and Security, which oversees U.S. export control.

Last year, Huawei spent $470,000 connected lobbying. As for this year, the Chinese tech elephantine has spent implicit $1.2 cardinal truthful far.

There person been warnings astir Huawei’s lobbying campaign. In August, 2 members of the Washington-based deliberation vessel Heritage Foundation published a commentary successful The Daily Signal, highlighting Huawei’s accrued lobbying activities, including the hiring of Podesta. One of the 2 authors is Dustin Carmack, a probe chap successful exertion argumentation astatine the deliberation tank.

“In the coming months, it is apt that almighty and connected lobbyists moving connected Huawei’s behalf volition effort to woo the Biden administration. The astir solemn work of immoderate statesmanlike medication is to support American nationalist security,” they wrote.

“As such, the Biden medication indispensable cull these lobbying efforts and clasp the enactment connected Huawei.”

His brother, John Podesta, served arsenic White House main of unit to erstwhile U.S. President Bill Clinton, arsenic good arsenic being the president of Hillary Clinton’s run for her statesmanlike bid successful 2016.

Tony Podesta and Huawei did not instantly respond to requests for comment. 

Frank Fang

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Frank Fang is simply a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers quality successful China and Taiwan. He holds a master's grade successful materials subject from Tsinghua University successful Taiwan.