Huawei hires Trump fundraiser

Business | Bloomberg 23 Oct 2019

Huawei's lobbying expenses jumped in the third quarter as the telecom giant hired a fundraiser for United States President Donald Trump with deep ties to the Republican leadership to help it fight back against the blacklisting of the company from the US market.

Huawei spent a company record of US$1.8 million (HK$8.19 billion) on federal lobbying in the three months ending in September, up from US$30,000 in the same period last year, when it had largely shut down its lobbying presence in Washington.

Huawei spent a US$1.7 million to pay lobbyist Michael Esposito, according to federal disclosures. Esposito, whose hiring was disclosed in August, describes himself as a member of Trump Victory, the joint fund-raising committee that includes the president's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to a biography on the website of his firm, Federal Advocates.

Huawei hired Esposito to help with its fight over a five-month-old ban by the Commerce Department, which blocks US companies from selling components to China's largest technology company in the name of national security.

Huawei denies that it is a threat.

In March, Huawei registered lobbyists for the first time since 2012. They include Samir Jain, a Jones Day partner who was a cybersecurity official under President Barack Obama. The company is also pursuing a legal and public-relations campaign against the ban, which requires American firms to obtain a government license in order to sell to it.

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