At the height of the Cold War, it would have been wild and inappropriate for everyone to know the Soviets were paying money to a US lobbying firm. As Senator Eugene McCarthy and the red scare era proved, the mere accusation was enough to raise issues. What was unseemly then is acceptable now. TikTok, the Chinese spyware social media company, has hired the services of Biden-connected consulting firm SKDK, a prominent Democratic lobbying firm.
The Chinese Communist Party has figured out a trick the Soviets could not. America's elites are for sale to the highest bidder. Whether for money or ideological agreement, American elites can be had. The news isn't a crackpot theory or a random Twitter thread. It's a lead story on Politico, which knows all the parties involved and what SKDK got hired to do.
TikTok faces the prospect of a ban in the United States again. After the Trump administration banned the app and faced litigation, Biden dropped the ban as one of his first acts as President. Congress has since revived the ban as members of the House and Senate see the same issues as the Trump White House: TikTok is nothing more than Chinese spyware, posing a direct threat to national security on every level.
With the new Congressional ban looking imminent to pass, TikTok is pulling out all the stops. That brings us to the hiring of SKDK, who TikTok hopes will change Democratic minds in Congress, or the White House.
Politico notes, "SKDK is seen as the most well-connected Democratic firm in Washington with former top employees in senior and mid-level roles in the Biden administration. Anita Dunn, a founding partner, returned to the White House last May where she is senior adviser after a stint in the early part of the Biden administration and work on the 2020 campaign."
Anita Dunn isn't the only Democrat on SKDK's payroll. Politico adds, "Other former SKDK employees in the Biden administration include deputy White House communications directors Kate Berner and Herbie Ziskend, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh and Interior Department press secretary Tyler Cherry."
TikTok hired SKDK "in the last few months," according to Politico. And SKDK is "providing communications support to the company, which has come under government scrutiny."
The clear lesson here is simple: American elites, who talk of norms and principles, are for sale. The Chinese Communist Party is sending checks to defend its spyware program. China's choice shouldn't be of any surprise since the Chinese would love to keep TikTok rolling in the United States for as long as possible.
TikTok has openly admitted it takes information from users like journalists to find information on sources and leakers regarding China. States worldwide have banned TikTok from government devices due to concerns that China is using the same technology to steal government information and secrets. Calling TikTok Chinese spyware is a friendly description.
Software isn't the only issue. We know that in 2018, the Chinese used tiny chips and technological parts to steal trade secrets and other sensitive information from US firms. China hasn't invented an original idea in decades - but they've stolen a ton.
Additionally, just this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that US defense officials are concerned about Chinese-built cranes in US ports. There is a growing concern these cranes get built with technology to spy on what is happening in America's ports and send information back to the Chinese Communist Party.
And, of course, no one can forget the dramatic site of a Chinese spy balloon drifting across Alaska, Canada, and a large portion of the United States. We know the Chinese used it to spy on anything and everything and make a mockery of US radar stations.
Banning TikTok isn't a moral panic. It's common sense. The Chinese Communist Party is unquestionably using it to spy on Americans, the US government, and anything defense-related. Ridding ourselves of Chinese spyware should be an easy decision. It was a boneheaded choice by Biden to reverse Trump's ban. Congress should get commended for bringing the ban back.
But firms like SKDK should get shamed out of public sight. The US government must register SKDK as a foreign agent, and the Biden White House should cut ties with every Democrat involved. American elite lobbying firms may be for sale. Still, we can cut them from the decision-making and polite society.
Outside banning TikTok, shunning SKDK and firms like it should be another easy layup for all politicians. Banning TikTok isn't a free speech violation - there are plenty of alternatives. Banning TikTok rids the United States of Chinese influence and spying.