According to an opensecrets.org review of lobbying registration and disclosure records, China has spent about $334 million on its lobbying activities and propaganda outlets in the United States, more than any other nation and twice as much as Russia.
Experts on national security and human rights are appalled by the willingness of some former members of Congress to profit from their public service by aiding a U.S. foe. They say that when a government person leaves office, they shouldn’t be able to sell out the country.
In a recent report, the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom recommended that all lobbying groups and law firms representing the Chinese government and corporations be banned from operating in the United States.
USCIRF commissioner Frank Wolf thinks that only a complete prohibition would stop money flow from China’s influence operation into the nation’s capital. Restricting lobbying for China, Representative Wolf contended, would not work because large corporations with foreign customers would still throw fundraisers for members of Congress and gain the access they need.
China’s lack of openness, its growing links to Russia, its aggressiveness against Taiwan, and a controversy over a visit to the U.S. by Taiwan’s president have all contributed to heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing during the last two years. Lobbying on behalf of TikTok, Hikvision, and other Chinese companies occurred under the Biden administration, although disclosure regulations were lax.
Hikvision has brought many former members of Congress and high-ranking U.S. officials to combat the tightening sanctions. The use of Hikvision and Dahua goods in any capacity by the United States government or any contract supported by the United States government was outlawed. Since then, the Federal Communications Commission has added more fines. In March, human rights activists Mike McCaul and Gregory Meeks urged the Biden administration to act more against Hikvision.
U.S. lobbyists in Russia were only compelled to cease their lucrative contracts and comply with the new, comprehensive legislation after the invasion of Ukraine.