Beijing’s Friends in Washington DC
Beijing’s Friends in Washington DC
Many U.S. government officials have, in recent years, made a fortune doing business with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). And this raises significant concerns, not only conflicts of interest, but the leverage this may provide the CCP to influence U.S. policies in its favor.
Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, is worth over $1 billion. Tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of that comes from business with China.
As San Francisco mayor in 1980, Feinstein set up a sister city relationship with Shanghai. She is a close friend of former Shanghai mayor and CCP-leader Jiang Zemin, who came to power because of his support for the Tiananmen Square massacre. Jiang is also the architect of the persecution campaign against Falun Gong and his been sued around the world for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Feinstein was a vocal supporter of providing China with Most Favored Nation trading status, and has frequently advocated for “close” ties with Beijing. In 2018, multiple news outlets reported that, back in 2013, Feinstein had been told by the FBI that one of her staff who had worked for her for 20 years was a Chinese spy. Feinstein tried to play it down, saying he was only a driver, but it turns out he was her “office director,” highest paid staff person, and liaison to other pro-CCP activists in the Bay Area like Eric Mar.
Through two companies founded by Hunter Biden, Seneca Global Advisors and Rosemont Seneca Partners, the Biden family has engaged in business deals with Chinese entities amounting to well over $1 billion. Much of this business began while Joe Biden was Vice-President, and, some critics note, coincide with a significant softening of criticism of the Chinese government. On December 8, 2020, the Justice Department announced it is investigating the finances of Hunter Biden, including some of his Chinese business dealings.
There’s a broad phenomenon of heads of state and top officials taking lucrative positions in China once leaving office (former British Prime Minister David Cameron took a job in 2017 leading a billion-dollar investment project, while former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder profited from aiding German companies establish connections with the CCP). But what about a vice-president making such deals, continuing them once leaving office, and then running for reelection?
In a telling interview with PBS, Bloomerg declared that CCP leader Xi Jinping “is not a dictator" and is responsive to "his constituents," despite the fact that all major human rights organizations classify Xi as a dictator, and as the leader of a communist state, he is not elected and has no "constituents." Why the skewed view? The Washington Post's Josh Rogin may have the answer: “Bloomberg LP doesn’t make money in China only by selling terminals [millions of dollars]. Through its massive Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index, Bloomberg LP is helping finance Chinese companies by sending billions of U.S. investor dollars into the Chinese bond market."
McConnell is married to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Chao’s father, James Chao, founded and owns a successful shipping company, the Foremost Group, that does significant business with China State Shipbuilding Corp. (CSSC). The couple’s net worth, largely stemming from Foremost Group earnings, is at least $24 million.
Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, worked for the law firm DLA Piper, which boasts of 30 years experience in China and over 140 lawyers dedicated to its China Investment Services branch. According to a report by the National Pulse:
“To facilitate DLA Piper’s China practice—which has received countless prestigious awards from the China Business Law Journal and China Law and Practice—the company employs a host of former Chinese Communist Party officials. [For example,] Ernest Yang, who serves as the firm’s Head of Litigation & Regulatory department and Co-Head of International Arbitration, was appointed to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in 2013. The CPPCC serves as the top advisory board for the Chinese Communist Party, and Yang was promoted to the body’s Standing Committee in 2019. In August 2020, DLA Piper announced that Emhoff had taken a leave of absence.”
The former House speaker joined Squire Patton Boggs after he retired from the House in 2015. The lobbying firm has long represented the Chinese Embassy in Washington; Boehner serves “as a strategic adviser to clients in the U.S. and abroad, and will focus on global business development.” Boehner helped lead the effort to grant China most favored trading nation status in the late 1990s. (excerpt from Daily Beast)
Christenson served as a U.S. representative from Nebraska from 1995 to 1999. Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp hired him as a lobbyist after he left Congress. After the FBI investigation into ZTE’s violation of sanctions on Iran became public, Christenson resigned from his position there. (excerpt from Daily Beast)
Holtzman worked in the executive office of the president as special adviser for public affairs to the U.S. trade ambassador under Bill Clinton, and later served as an adviser to the director of policy planning staff at the State Department under Colin Powell. Holtzman is now a partner at public-relations firm BLF Worldwide, where he managed the campaign for China’s bid to host the 2008 Olympics. Holtzman is registered as a foreign agent and represents the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation. According to FARA filings, in this role he will “provide services for the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation to promote its interests in the U.S., including expanding third-party supporters, generating media placements, arranging visits for delegations to China, and supporting CUSEF activity with the U.S.” (excerpt from Daily Beast)