Joe Lieberman Registers As Lobbyist For Chinese Telecom Giant He Warned Against As A Senator

Chris Menahan
Jan. 17, 2019

Just business as usual for our moral betters!

From the JTA:
In 2010, Sen. Joe Lieberman fretted that the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE might be spying on Americans.

Nearly a decade later, Lieberman registered as a lobbyist for ZTE, with a spokesperson for the former senator saying he is now working for the company to see how they can alleviate the kind of concerns he previously raised.

The Daily Beast reported Tuesday that Lieberman, then a Connecticut Independent, joined three Republican lawmakers in 2010 who asked the Obama administration to provide information on whether Americans were susceptible to espionage given aggressive attempts by ZTE and Huawei, another Chinese company, to enter the telecommunications market.
As JTA notes, the 2010 letter he signed on to said: "We are very concerned that these companies are being financed by the Chinese government and are potentially subject to significant influence by the Chinese military which may create an opportunity for manipulation of switches, routers, or software embedded in American telecommunications network so that communications can be disrupted, intercepted, tampered with, or purposely misrouted."

More from OpenSecrets:
Clarine Nardi Riddle, chair of the firm’s Government Affairs and Strategic Counsel Practice Group and Lieberman’s former chief of staff in the Senate who also registered as a lobbyist for ZTE, said Lieberman is not actually “lobbying” for ZTE but rather is gathering concerns about the company from lawmakers and officials.

“Senator Lieberman is conducting a national security assessment investigation, where he will listen to congressional, executive branch, and customer national security concerns, but will not be attempting to influence them nor advocate on ZTE’s behalf,” Nardi Riddle told the Center for Responsive Politics in an email.

“His mission is to listen, assess and then make recommendations to ZTE on how to address U.S. national security concerns. While these activities are not associated with the common understanding of “lobbying,” the Lobbying and Disclosure Act can be interpreted to require registration because he is meeting with “covered officials” under the statute. Out of an abundance of caution, Senator Lieberman will register under the LDA so that there will be no question about his and ZTE’s transparency and compliance.”
Lieberman is not "lobbying" he's "lobbying!"

Big difference!

Realistically, he should just say not trusting the Chinese is racist and xenophobic. That's all Kevin McCarthy needs to hear -- he'll cave immediately!

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