Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta was paid $1 million by Chinese telecommunications company Huawei for trying to influence the Biden administration on its behalf, claimed reports based on information sources in Washington.
The reports claimed that the amount paid by Huawei to the lobbyist was double of what had been reported publicly.
In a third-quarter lobbying report this month, the prominent Washington lobbyist reported a $500,000 payment from Huawei. However, in reality Podesta is reported to have received a total of $1 million in two payments between June and September, according to sources.
Podesta’s fourth-quarter filing in January will include the additional undisclosed $500,000 payment which he had taken for lobbying activities during the October campaign.
No comment form Huawei on eh subject was available
Tony Podesta is the brother of John Podesta, who was the chairman of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as well as being a top White House advisor fort the former President Barack Obama, who is also a Democrat.
With the discussions between the Justice Department and Huawei CFO Meng getting heated during the summer, Podesta pushed the White House on her behalf, which culminated in a settlement last month to drop a bank fraud charge against her.
According to the requirement of the Lobbying Disclosure Act, lobbyists need to disclose the payment for the quarter in which the job was done, say lawyers, and hence Podesta will be in compliance of the regulations if he lobbies for Huawei in the last three months of the year.
However, the lawyers also said that it was not common place for a firm to pre-pay an outside lobbyist for work to be done in the future, as has been the case with Huawei.
There has been an outrage against Huawei in Washington over concerns that the equipment supplied by the company can allow Chinese agencies to eavesdrop on US consumers, as well as charges of trade secret theft and breaches of US sanctions on other countries.
The company was placed on a trade blacklist by former President Donald Trump’s Republican administration, which made it highly difficult for the company to acquire sophisticated and technology from its US suppliers.
With authorities looking into his firm’s links to Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, Podesta resigned from his lobbying company, the Podesta Group. Manafort has been charged and convicted of bank and tax fraud but was eventually pardoned. Podesta was eventually exonerated of wrongdoing.
Podesta mentioned “problems relating to telecommunication services and associated trade concerns” as the topics of discussion with the White House, in his third quarter lobbying report for Huawei.
According to federal filings, around $3.42 million had been spent by Huawei on internal and external lobbyists this year.
(Adapted from News.ABS-CBN.com)