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Beijing is thousands of miles from Atlanta, but Republicans hope the Middle Kingdom weighs heavily on voters’ minds in the Georgia Senate runoff.

Rep. Eric Swalwell’s, D-Calif., newly revealed relationship with Chinese spy Christine Fang is helping the GOP press Jon Ossoff about his financial ties to China. Now, a top pollster believes “the attacks on Ossoff about his connections to China are working” for incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue.

The questions are fair. While Ossoff has no known connections to a spy like Fang, he received compensation from a Hong Kong media company with a pro-Beijing bent in the years between his failed House campaign and his run for Senate, then left the transaction off his financial disclosure.

Ossoff first chalked the lapse up to a “paperwork error” through a campaign spokesperson. He then amended the statement to disclose the payment, but also claimed the amount was under the $5,000 threshold that requires reporting.

In response to an inquiry from The Federalist about releasing the records, Ossoff’s campaign passed along a Dec. 18 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, pointing to one section in particular:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reviewed quarterly payments Ossoff’s company received from Sky Vision, the global satellite communication service provider that licensed the two investigations in 2018.

It showed Sky Vision collected 1,047 English pounds from PCCW over the course of 2018 for licensing the films. After a 28% distribution fee, and converting to U.S. currency, it amounts to about $950 paid to Ossoff’s company. The records document the only transactions between the Democrat’s firm and PCCW, Ossoff’s campaign said.

It remains odd that Ossoff amended his financial disclosure form to reflect the payment, blaming a “paperwork error,” then claimed the payment didn’t meet the required threshold for disclosure anyway.

National Review reported Ossoff hadn’t spoken out in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters until his campaign issued a statement in response to questions about the financial disclosure, given that Richard Li, the man who runs the Hong Kong media company that compensated Ossoff, is a strident opponent of Hong Kong’s independence.

“Jon strongly supports Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and condemns the brutality and authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party,” a spokesperson told the outlet, declining to answer whether Ossoff specifically condemned Li’s opposition to Hong Kong’s independence.

The payment from PCCW, Li’s media company, was made in relation to screenings of a documentary produced by Ossoff’s company. The documentary focuses on war crimes committed by ISIS.

Earlier this month, Georgia-based conservative radio host Erick Erickson drew a direct parallel between Swalwell and Ossoff, arguing the reasons Beijing targeted the former also apply to the latter. “Eric Swalwell was compromised by a Chinese spy. Swalwell sat on the Intelligence Committee. Ossoff claims he had an intelligence clearance while working for members of Congress. Swalwell was very clearly charting a bigger path and Ossoff indisputably was.”

Erickson continued to point out that in Swalwell’s case the Chinese weren’t out for classified information so much as private details about his life that serve as political intelligence. Dana Perino made a similar point on Fox News, which ended up in a Perdue campaign ad.

If the payment was as small as Ossoff’s campaign says, it’s unlikely he’s significantly compromised by Beijing. If, however, he’s still hiding something, it’s a different story. As Tom Rogan, who covers intelligence extensively for the Washington Examiner, told The Federalist, “If Ossoff hides the payment, he shows vulnerability and thus makes the orig inally small investment exponentially more valuable as a tool of leverage from Beijing.”

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When I asked the Ossoff campaign whether it was “planning to produce documentation that shows the precise amount of money Mr. Ossoff made in the transaction(s),” they pointed to the AJC article in which reporters say they reviewed the quarterly payments to Ossoff’s company.

“Radical Left Works To Install Another China-Bought Democrat” a Perdue press release blared last week. “From Eric Swalwell to Hunter Biden, it’s clear our foreign adversaries are working to penetrate our government by leveraging any relationship they can, and my China-bought opponent would provide them just another way to threaten our national security,” the senator said in a Dec. 17 statement.

One day later, Robert Cahaly, chief pollster at the Trafalgar Group, told Fox News he believes Perdue’s efforts to highlight these connections are boosting his odds of retaining the seat. “The movement, from what we can see, is more of the Ossoff-Perdue race. The voters are telling us that the movement is about the China thing. I think the attacks on Ossoff about his connections to China are working for Perdue,” Cahaly observed.

Ossoff’s campaign claims it’s Perdue who has a China problem, arguing the senator is whitewashing his own work overseas. “It’s embarrassing how wildly desperate David Perdue looks as he tries to lie himself out of this losing campaign, especially when he is the one with deep ties to China,” an Ossoff spokeswoman told the Journal-Constitution.

Indeed, the same AJC article cites a Huffington Post report that noted a new Perdue ad is very similar to a 2014 Perdue ad, but one major difference is that the new ad omits his two years of work for Sara Lee in Hong Kong, along with a picture of the senator and his wife on the Great Wall of China. In a post-pandemic GOP primary, Perdue’s business history might be a big liability.

That’s really the point. The reason Perdue’s ad shifted may be the same reason Ossoff initially left the PCCW transaction off his disclosure. Elites in media and business have extensive financial ties to China because it’s been a lucrative source of income. As the United States is increasingly skeptical of Beijing, and the country’s human rights abuses are increasingly scrutinized, those financial ties are liabilities in close races like the Georgia runoff.

In some cases, the shift from warmth towards China to skepticism may be sincere. Beijing has provided an abundance of reasons for people to distance themselves in recent years, so people like Perdue who worked in Asia may be well-positioned to explain the CCP’s deep issues. In some cases, the shift is probably as opportunistic as the initial business was. Either way, per Cahaly’s analysis, aspiring lawmakers with past ties to China should be aware voters will want answers.

Rightfully so. As the cases of Swalwell and Hunter Biden demonstrate, the Chinese Communist Party has been and continues to be engaged in serious efforts to compromise American elites, while American elites have been eager to make a buck in China.



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Biden’s Interior nominee failed to report casino income on congressional ethics report

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The Democratic congresswoman named by President Biden to be the next interior secretary failed to disclose on her House ethics report $16,000 in casino salary that made up more than a  third of her income in 2018 when she first won her congressional seat, according to an amended report she filed as her nomination was being vetted.

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), who would be America’s first Native American cabinet secretary if her nomination is approved, faces a confirmation hearing Tuesday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Republicans such as Sen. Steve Daines of Montana are expected to grill Haaland about her relative lack of management experience and her views on the environment and energy, which they have labeled as radical.

The change that Haaland made on her 2018 congressional ethics form last month may open another avenue of inquiry for Republicans.

Haaland, a member of the Laguna Pueblo Nation in New Mexico, has been one of the most modestly earning members in Congress since she joined in January 2019.

The financial disclosure form she filed for interior secretary shows she had no income in 2020 beyond her congressional salary and a $175 distribution payment from her tribe. She also reported owning no assets, and carrying up to $50,000 in student loan debts, a balance sheet dwarfed by those of the preponderance of members of Congress, the majority of whom are millionaires

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.File NomineeDisclosure-Haaland.pdf

After she joined Congress in 2019, Haaland reported on her House ethics form dated May 13, 2019 that her only source of income in 2018 was $30,550 as an independent contractor for her tribe’s Laguna Development Corp. She also listed no liabilities on the form.

But on Jan. 5 of this year, she quietly filed an amendment to the 2019 form adding $16,000 in “salary” from the San Felipe Casino, a gambling outlet near Santa Fe run by the San Felipe Pueblo. The casino recently changed its name to Black Mesa Casino.

The amendment also listed student loan debts of between $15,001 and $50,000 that were not on her 2019 form.

Spokespeople for Haaland, Daines and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the ranking Republican on the committee, did not immediately return emails or calls seeking comment .

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Convicted fundraiser who tried to work his way into Biden’s inner circle sentenced to prison

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Amajor Democratic bundler, who raised large sums for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and consorted with Joe Biden, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for what prosecutors said was a “mercenary” political influence scheme.

Imaad Zuberi, a Californian businessman was sentenced Thursday for schemes to funnel foreign money into U.S. political campaigns, then take millions of dollars for himself.

The Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Assistant Attorney Daniel J. O’Brien said Zuberi was “purely a mercenary, funneling money to whomever he believed would do his bidding.”

Among the many unsealed court records, Zuberi was seen photographed with Joe Biden and Barack Obama when they were Vice President and President. He was also pictured with former President Bill Clinton and former presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. He took pictures with former Republican Rep. Paul Ryan when he was speaker of the House as well as the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Also included in the Times report was a hacked email chain released on WikiLeaks. Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook messaged colleagues saying, “I’m OK taking the money and dealing with any attacks.” Jennifer Palmieri responded saying, “Take the money!”

He also attended Hillary Clinton’s election night party in New York City in 2016 as well as serving as a co-chair of The Trump Presidential Inauguration Committee.

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Zuberi made more than $950,000 in unlawful donations to the political committees of Obama, Clinton, McCain and others. Zuberi’s activities extended as far as a recent attempt to work his way into the Biden circle, according to Politico.  

In addition to the money he made, Zuberi also raised $270,000 for Hillary Clinton and $1.3 million for President Obama.

Zuberi, 50, pleaded guilty to a “three-count information charging with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)” for making false statements on a FARA filing as well as tax evasion and illegal contributions to political campaigns. He also pleaded guilty in a separate case earlier in June 2020 to a count of obstruction of justice.

“Zuberi turned acting as an unregistered foreign agent into a business enterprise,” Assistant Attorney General for National Secretary John C. Demers said in a Department of Justice news release.

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Cruz responds to pictures of him on Mexico flight, with Texas struggling from deadly winter storm

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Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz confirmed Thursday that he flew earlier this week to Mexico with family members, following the emergence of pictures appearing to show him in an airplane cabin and at a check-in counter, as fellow residents to recover from a deadly winter storm.

Cruz said in a statement that he accompanied his daughters on a flight Wednesday night to Mexico because they had the week off with school canceled.

“Wanting to be a good dad,” said Cruz, who also stated he is returning to Texas on Thursday afternoon.

The storms has been connected to at least seven deaths in Texas and knocked out power to as many as 2.5 million residents. The number of residents without electricity as of Thursday morning was down to less than 1 million, officials said.  

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“My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas,” Cruz also said. “We want our power back, our water on, and our homes warm.”

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