Turncoats or Whores?
There's a slew of one-time U.S. politicians and officials who have lobbied for China or whose business interests are closely connected to it.
As China’s wealth has grown, so has its sophistication at currying favor in Washington and among the American elite.
Both the Chinese government and Chinese companies, often with close state ties, have retained lobbying and public-relations firms in the Beltway, in some cases hiring former U.S. officials as personal lobbyists.
Beijing has also learned how to harness its economic might by alternately opening its doors to companies who play by China’s rules, and slamming the door on companies that go against its red lines. In some cases, this grants Beijing powerful sway over foreign companies with business interests in China.
This has raised concerns that current U.S. government officials may have an eye on their future prospects in China even before leaving office.
While it may seem politics as usual in Washington today, some are alarmed.
“Nobody in the 1980s would have represented the Russian government. And now you find so many lobbying for the Chinese government,” said Frank Wolf, a retired U.S. representative from Virginia who long served as the co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. “I served in Congress for 34 years. I find it shocking.”
Boustany served as the U.S. representative for Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District until 2017 and co-chaired the U.S.-China working group. After leaving Congress, he joined the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel. Boustany has registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, representing the U.S.-China Transpacific Foundation, which is based in Las Vegas and is sponsored by the Chinese government. According to FARA filings, Capitol Counsel helps the foundation bring delegations of U.S. members of Congress to China to “enhance their understanding on the cultural, economic, political, and social developments of the People’s Republic of China, thus helping strengthen U.S.-China relations.” The foundation provided Capitol Counsel with an initial fee of $50,000 in late 2017, when the contract began.
The former House speaker joined Squire Patton Boggs after he retired from the House in 2015. The lobbying firm has long represented the Chinese embassy in Washington; Boehner serves “as a strategic adviser to clients in the U.S. and abroad, and will focus on global business development.” Boehner helped lead the effort to grant China most favored trading nation status in the late 1990s.
Firestein served as a career diplomat from 1992 to 2010. After leaving government, he joined the East-West Institute, where he spearheaded a series of dialogues between high-ranking political party leaders in the United States and China. In many of its dialogues, which bring U.S. leaders to China, the East-West Institute has partnered with the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, which is closely connected to the United Front, a political-influence arm of the Chinese Communist Party; the institute has also partnered with a Chinese organization known to be a front for the People’s Liberation Army’s political-intelligence agency.Read More . . . .