Long time Democratic power broker Tony Podesta has earned $1 million over the past half year lobbying the Biden White House at the behest of a blacklisted Chinese tech giant, recent federal disclosures show.
Huawei, which was placed under trade sanctions during the Trump administration, paid Podesta $500,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021 in an attempt to shake off the trade impact of the restrictions, according to the disclosure form filed on the evening of Jan. 20. With the $500,000 Podesta made from the previous three months lobbying the White House, he has been compensated $1 million over a six-month period for the lobbying effort.
Podesta’s latest lobbying campaign targeted the Executive Office of the President and centered around “telecommunications services and impacted trade issues,” the disclosure said.
Huawei, once the world’s largest telecom makers, has been facing international scrutiny in recent years. U.S. authorities have flagged the China-based company as a national security threat, saying the company’s close ties with China’s ruling communist regime, as well as Chinese law, could make it a potential espionage tool for Beijing.
A stream of U.S. sanctions since 2019—which have barred Huawei from using U.S. technology and software, and shut out its gears from critical U.S. infrastructure—have slashed the company’s annual revenue by a third. In November, President Joe Biden signed into law a bill that further tightened restrictions on Huawei by restricting it from receiving new equipment licenses from U.S regulators.
Battered by the restrictions, Huawei has ramped up its U.S. influence operation in recent months. Podesta is one of half a dozen lobbyists the firm has engaged since July, which includes a former congressman and one former congressional aide, according to disclosure filings.
At the time, the company had been pushing for the release of its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhenfei, who had been detained in Canada on fraud charges for business dealings with Iran evading U.S. sanctions.
Meng was eventually allowed to return to China after inking a deal with the Department of Justice.
Tony Podesta’s brother, John Podesta, served as White House chief of staff to former U.S. President Bill Clinton and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. He was also a former counselor to President Barack Obama, overseeing climate and energy policies.
The filings indicate that Huawei spent $3.59 million on lobbying in the United States in 2021, nearly eight times as much as the year before. The$3.59 million was also half a million higher than heightened spending in 2019, when the sanctions were first put into place.
The White House and Huawei did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ inquiries. Tony Podesta declined to comment and directed all questions to Huawei.