According to disclosure forms, a high-ranking Democrat with links to the Clintons and Barack Obama’s administration received $1 million in compensation for lobbying the Biden administration on behalf of Chinese giant Huawei. The telecom behemoth is one of several corporations under pressure after President Joe Biden chose to maintain numerous Trump-era policies toward China, and it appears to have enlisted the help of Tony Podesta to fight back. Trump prohibited non-American chipmakers from selling Huawei without prior clearance from the US government in 2020. Trump’s tough stance against the business, which is thought to be a front for the Chinese government, garnered him rare praise from George Soros in March 2020.
Who exactly is Tony Podesta?
Podesta, a Chicago native, was formerly regarded as DC royalty for his lobbying business, Podesta Group. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and MIT, as well as a law degree from Georgetown University. He became involved in DC politics at an early age, having helped on then-Senator Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign in 1986. He also campaigned for other unsuccessful Democrats, including Ted Kennedy, Walter Mondale, and George McGovern, in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite these setbacks, Tony co-founded the Podesta Group with his brother John in 1988, which became a huge success. It was apparently the third-largest lobbying group in the city in 2015, with a revenue of almost $30 million.
Tony Podesta began working for Huawei in August, as the business strives to free itself from Trump administration-backed brand limitations. Podesta’s brother is Democratic Party heavyweight John Podesta, who served as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman after serving as a White House adviser to President Barack Obama and as President Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff. According to public disclosure forms released this week, Tony Podesta spent $500,000 lobbying the “Executive Office of the President” on “Concerns related to telecommunication services and other trade concerns” in the fourth quarter of 2021. Podesta acknowledged another $500,000 from Huawei in the third quarter of 2021 to lobby the “White House Office” on “Concerns relating to telecommunication services and associated trade issues.”
The Trump administration pushed US allies like Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom to bar Huawei from participating in 5G wireless projects, citing worries that the firm might aid the Chinese government in monitoring. In 2020, the Trump Commerce Department released rules prohibiting any non-American chipmaker from selling Huawei without first obtaining US government clearance. The Washington Post published last month on “secret” internal Huawei PowerPoint presentations that revealed how the business surveils Chinese residents using high-tech tactics, including speech recognition.