Key Democrat Accepted TikTok Cash Before House Vote

TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance flooded Rep. James Clyburn’s (D-SC) foundation with checks ahead of his key House vote against banning the social media app.

The Democrat broke ranks earlier this month with President Joe Biden, who called for banning the platform for U.S. users. The Protect Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act cleared the House but faces an uncertain future in the Senate.

Lobbying disclosures revealed Clyburn, who accepted campaign donations from ByteDance, also raked in at least $40,000 for his nonprofit organization from the Chinese Communist Party-linked group.

Ryan Mauro is a national security analyst with the conservative Capital Research Center think tank. He noted the obvious link between campaign and foundation donations and the recent House vote.

Mauro explained, “We can’t say for a fact that his position is due to the money, but it’s perfectly reasonable to be concerned about financial incentives leading to political incentives.”

He called it “concerning” to note how often lawmakers take positions contrary to what is expected “at the expense of the country they’re supposed to represent.”

Democrats like to toss “bipartisan” around when they can get a couple of moderate Republicans to join their schemes. However, the recent House vote, which was 352-65 in favor of banning TikTok, is a true example of legislation that received support from both sides of the aisle.

Clyburn was obviously one of the 65 naysayers.

TikTok is roundly criticized for harvesting vast troves of U.S. user data. And by law it is beholden to the Chinese Communist Party to turn over any information deemed necessary by Beijing’s authoritarians.

Thus, a blanket ban after the House vote is a logical next step, but the Senate may stand in the way. Key leaders indicated a preference for regulating such foreign apps instead of an outright ban.

This despite rare leadership from the White House and President Joe Biden. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed that her boss wants to see the Senate “take swift action” and send the TikTok ban to the Oval Office for his signature.

But there has been a media and public relations blitz by ByteDance to ward off this action, and undoubtedly it was accompanied by intense lobbying. If there are too many senators of a like mind with Clyburn, TikTok is likely in the U.S. to stay.