Huawei, the controversial Chinese telecom giant, has appointed Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta as their consultant.
Politico said Podesta was hired to help the company mend its relationship with the Biden administration, which has taken a firm position against the problematic Chinese firm.
Over the years, Huawei has experienced a difficult path with Washington, as the two rival U.S. presidents Biden and Trump, shared the same views about it.
During his tenure, President Trump had imposed a series of limitations on the company. Unfortunately for Huawei, the situation had not gotten much better when Biden took office, as he gave even further reinforcement against it.
The U.S. alleged that Huawei was spying on U.S. entities by exploiting telecoms’ “back doors” intended for use by law enforcement for the Chinese regime in February last year. Huawei denied the accusations.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2020 gave Huawei the national security threat label for its close coordination with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and China’s military apparatus, said former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
“We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” Pai also said at the time, according to Business Insider.
President Biden, who appears to enjoy reversing his predecessor’s many policies, signed an executive order that barred U.S. investments in Huawei and other firms linked to the human rights abuse practices and suppression of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong by the CCP.
In recent months, the Chinese tyrant corporation has engaged many new lobbying firms led by former government officials. In the second quarter of 2021, the telecom company spent roughly $1.1 million on lobbying, up from just $170,000 the previous year.
Huawei has struggled to savage their falling profits outside of China, The Hill noted. But international revenues were not the only driver for the company to try and reconcile with the U.S. government.
The outlet revealed that Huawei hoped that Biden could overturn a Trump administration order from 2019 prohibiting the company from doing business with American companies, including major partners like Google, Qualcomm, and Intel. The telecommunications company is also asking for the release of Meng Wanzhou, its executive, who is in a Canadian jail on charges of violating U.S. sanctions.
Podesta, who once managed one of Washington’s most prominent lobbying companies, is returning to politics after a long absence. His Podesta Group was terminated in 2017 after the firm’s involvement with former Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort was investigated by then-special counsel Robert Mueller.
Podesta was not accused of any misconduct, but after Manafort’s indictment, he closed his firm and moved away from lobbying. The man later made his earnings selling art.
The employment came as Podesta announced he was considering a return to lobbying now that Democrats had retaken power and his legal complications have been resolved.
“I don’t want to recreate what I had, but I sort of miss working, and art alone doesn’t sustain me, because I love politics,” Podesta told the New York Times in early July.