Chinese technology company Huawei reportedly tapped Democratic mega-lobbyist Tony Podesta to help them appeal to the Biden administration.
Podesta — the founder of Podesta Group and the brother of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta — faced investigation for violating foreign lobbying laws while working with a Ukrainian organization linked to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, although his firm was never charged.
A report from Politico explains:
Huawei is hiring Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta as a consultant, according to two people familiar with the matter. Podesta will aim to help the controversial Chinese telecom giant warm relations with the Biden administration.
Huawei is not Podesta’s first major China client. Disclosure forms show that his former company also represented the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), which funds a host of activities in the U.S. The University of Texas at Austin in 2018 rejected a funding offer from the foundation because of concerns about its links to the Chinese Communist Party.
Indeed, Huawei has embarked upon a massive effort to enlist lobbyists from both sides of the aisle:
In addition to Podesta, Huawei recently hired several other representatives: the consulting firm of Lee Terry, a former Republican congressman from Nebraska; lawyer Stephen Binhak; Glenn LeMunyon, who was an aide to former House GOP Whip Tom DeLay; and the consulting firm J.S. Held. The company also retains white-shoe law firm Steptoe and Johnson, paying them $60,000 in the second quarter, according to a disclosure.
Both Podesta and Huawei declined Politico’s request for comment.
Last year, the Department of Justice indicted Huawei with conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Investigators said that the firm has a “long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from U.S. counterparts.”
In June, Huawei announced that it would launch a mobile operating system in an attempt to compete in the smartphone market after the Trump administration barred it from using the Android operating system. The United Kingdom has also barred Huawei from working on its 5G telecommunications network.
As The Daily Wire reported last week, the Cuban government relies upon technology designed by Huawei to shut off citizens’ access to the internet — a strategy that it most recently deployed to suppress the largest anti-communism protests on the island in decades.
A report by the Institute For War & Peace Reporting released last December noted that Etesca, the sole company in Cuba that provides internet access, has three primary technology providers that are all Chinese: Huawei, TP-Link, and ZTE.
Another report in 2017 by the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI), a global internet censorship watchdog, found traces of Chinese codes in both the surface and the interfaces used for wi-fi access portals in Cuba.
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