Chinese Big Tech company and communications giant Huawei has reportedly hired Democrat lobbyist Tony Podesta to help the company work with the Biden administration.
Tony Podesta — the founder of the Podesta Group and brother of John Podesta, the former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign chair — previously faced an investigation for violating foreign lobbying laws while working with a Ukrainian organization linked with disgraced former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The Justice Department ultimately dropped its investigation of Podesta and his firm was never charged, NBC News reported.
According to Politico, Huawei is hiring Podesta as a consultant, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Podesta will reportedly aim to help the Biden administration warm to the company, which faced sanctions under the Trump administration.
In March, the telecom giant told the BBC that the impact of the sanctions had “caused a lot of damage to [Huawei],” and that “life was not easy for” the company in 2020. The sanctions had interrupted its sale of mobile phones, slowing revenue growth. Despite the hit to its U.S. interests, Huawei saw increased profits in China by up to 3.2 per cent at $9.9 billion, in addition to overall revenue.
Huawei is currently banned from using the Android operating system, and it was banned in the U.K. from building the country’s 5G infrastructure.
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.
Huawei has hired lobbyists from both Democrat and Republican ranks to work for its interests in the United States. Politico reports that in addition to Podesta, the company has hired other people to represent it, including the consulting firm of Lee Terry, a former Republican congressman from Nebraska; lawyer Stephen Binhak; Glenn LeMunyon, a former aide to House GOP Whip Tom Delay; and the firm J.S. Held. The company has also reportedly retained the law firm Steptoe and Johnson.
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice indicted Huawei in 2020 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, arguing that the firm has a “long-running practice of using fraud and deception to misappropriate sophisticated technology from U.S. counterparts.”
As Rebel News reported last week, Huawei is one of the Chinese technology firms whose technology the Cuban government is using to censor its citizens and control and block their access to the internet.