Chinese Military Lobbyists In DC Spend Millions

Chinese military companies” as defined by the Pentagon have spent over $24 million on American lobbying efforts since 2020. Public records of legally required lobbying disclosures show major firms like Huawei and Megvii Technology Group are actively engaged in lobbying members of Congress, the White House, and the endless number of Washington bureaucrats.

Significantly, Huawei, tagged by the Department of Defense as a Chinese military company, has been the top spender, with more than $10.8 million funneled into lobbying efforts aimed at bills that could limit its operations in the U.S. For example, Huawei targeted the Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act, which stalled in the Senate. Another key player, Futurewei, despite attempts to separate its operations from Huawei, spent over $2 million on lobbying, explicitly targeting the DENIAL Act, which also failed to advance.

Further scrutiny shows the influence of Chinese military companies extends beyond telecommunications. BGI, the largest genomics firm globally and a noted military collaborator spent nearly half a million dollars lobbying against legislation restricting its U.S. operations, citing its involvement in potential bioweapon development.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the CCP Lobbying Divestment Act last month in response to these growing concerns about conflicts of interest. This legislation aims to sever the ties between American defense contractors and lobbyists who also represent entities affiliated with the Chinese military and Communist Party. Rubio’s bill would force lobbyists to choose to represent the U.S. or China, but not both.

The bill addresses the dilemma that many Washington D.C.-based lobbying firms face. These firms often represent American defense contractors and Chinese companies with ties to the People’s Liberation Army, risking significant conflicts of interest. Rubio said, “Too many lobbying firms are reaping the financial benefits of representing clients with DoD contracts while also working for those with ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Senator Rubio’s legislation marks a crucial step toward ensuring transparency and integrity within the lobbying industry. By requiring firms to choose whom they represent, the act could reduce the influence of foreign adversaries on U.S. policies. However, the effectiveness of such a bill will depend on rigorous enforcement and the willingness of lobbying firms to comply without finding loopholes.