By Nihal Krishan, Technology Reporter
Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications company that is on the U.S. government’s trade blacklist, paid longtime veteran Democratic lobbyist and donor Tony Podesta $500,000 to lobby the White House during the third quarter.
Podesta’s lobbying, which took place between July and September, was revealed in a lobbying disclosure report Thursday. It’s not clear what kind of activities Podesta engaged in or what policies he pushed for during his lobbying campaign for Huawei.
The revelation comes at a time when the Biden administration is facing scrutiny to keep Huawei on the trade blacklist, which keeps the company from accessing the American semiconductors market.
Biden’s nominee for overseeing China export policy, Alan Estevez, said last month that he views Huawei as a national security threat and expects the company to remain on the trade blacklist unless “things change.”
“President Biden and this administration believe digital infrastructure equipment made by untrustworthy vendors, like Huawei, pose a threat to the security of the U.S., our allies, and our partners. Export controls against Huawei remain in place,” a White House official told CNBC when asked about Podesta’s lobbying.
Podesta, according to the third quarter disclosure, targeted only the White House, and no other parts of the federal government, for Huawei last quarter. The disclosure form says the lobbying was regarding “issues related to telecommunication services and impacted trade issues,”CNBCreported . In addition to being a prominent lobbyist, Podesta is the brother of John Podesta, a top adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Huawei has tried for many years to get into the good graces of American government officials in an attempt to counter allegations it threatens U.S. national security.
U.S. government officials have warned since 2018 that Huawei has ties to the Chinese government, banning Huawei equipment for federal government use because of security concerns. The company denies having ties to the Chinese government or being influenced by them.
Earlier this year, Huawei lost a court challenge to the FCC declaration that it is a national security threat due to its links to the Chinese Communist Party.
Former President Donald Trump first put Huawei on the trade blacklist in 2019. The Trump administration engaged in an all-out effort to limit Huawei’s global reach, especially in the area of fifth-generation wireless , pushing its “Five Eyes” international partners to reject Huawei technology in their communications networks.
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