Tony Podesta made $1M lobbying Biden WH for China’s Huawei telecom firm

Tony Podesta made $1M lobbying Biden WH for China's Huawei telecom firm

WASHINGTON – Well-connected Democrat Tony Podesta raked in $1 million last year lobbying the Biden White House on behalf of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Podesta started work for Huawei in August as the company attempts to free itself of Trump administration-rallied restrictions on the brand.

Podesta’s brother is Democratic Party bigwig John Podesta — who was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman after working as a White House adviser to President Barack Obama and as Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton.

According to public disclosure forms released this week, Tony Podesta earned $500,000 lobbying the “Executive Office of the President” on “Issues related to telecommunication services and impacted trade issues” in the fourth quarter of 2021.

In the third quarter of 2021, Podesta disclosed another $500,000 from Huawei to lobby the “White House Office” on “Issues related to telecommunication services and impacted trade issues.”

Huawei logo displayed on a phone screen.
The Washington Post reported findings last month on how the company surveils Chinese citizens.
SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Igor Golovniov

The Trump administration persuaded US allies including Australia, Japan and the UK to ban Huawei from participating in 5G wireless projects over concerns that the company would help the Chinese government conduct surveillance.

In 2020, the Trump Commerce Department issued guidelines barring any non-American chipmaker from supplying Huawei without first getting approval from the US government.

The Washington Post reported last month on internal Huawei PowerPoint presentations marked “confidential” that described how the company surveils Chinese citizens though high-tech means, including through voice identification.

John Podesta
Tony Podesta’s brother, John Podesta, was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign chairman.
AP / J. Scott Applewhite
Paul Manafort
Tony Podesta garnered undesirable attention during the Mueller investigation over links to Paul Manafort.
AFP via Getty Images / Brendan Smialowski

The documents showed the company also monitors political dissidents and slides even describe how the company’s products can help manage the schedules of detainees at reeducation and labor camps in the authoritarian nation.

Podesta spent much of the 2000s as DC royalty until his reputation crashed during Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation due to his links to Paul Manafort, a Republican lobbyist who was one of Trump’s campaign chairmen in 2016.

His Podesta Group lobbying firm shuttered in 2017 as he faced federal investigation.

Manafort was convicted in 2018 of concealing up to $60 million from tax authorities and later pleaded guilty to working as an unregistered foreign agent for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

Podesta accepted $1.13 million as part of the same Ukrainian project. He also had not registered as a foreign agent, but was not charged criminally.

Podesta did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on what exactly he did as part of his work lobbying the Biden White House on behalf of Huawei.

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