US investors in TikTok are donating millions to Dems as Biden pushes to let Chinese app continue

US investors in TikTok are donating millions to Dems as Biden pushes to let Chinese app continue 2
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American companies invested in TikTok have been courting and donating millions of dollars to Democrats, DailyMail.com has learned – just as President Joe Biden is pushing to let the Chinese social media app continue to operate in the US despite growing concerns about its real agenda.

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Top Republican lawmakers and some federal officials believe TikTok is being used to steal consumer data and spread Beijing-backed propaganda to influence the upcoming midterm elections.

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has lured politically well-connected financial backers in the US after it plowed billions of dollars of investments into the wildly successful app that now has a billion users worldwide – including about a third of all Americans.

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‘If you’re curious why Joe Biden and the Democrats have kicked the can on TikTok for so long, just follow the money,’  Republican Senator Senator Josh Hawley told DailyMail.com 

‘ByteDance hires top Democrat staffers as lobbyists and their corporate allies donate millions to Democrats. This is the same company that won’t even commit to stop sending American data overseas to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]. The Democrats’ cronyism is putting the American people at risk.’ 

TikTok's parent company ByteDance has lured politically well-connected financial backers in the US after it plowed billions of dollars of investments into the wildly successful app

TikTok now has a billion users worldwide ¿ including about a third of all Americans

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has lured politically well-connected financial backers in the US after it plowed billions of dollars of investments into the wildly successful app that now has a billion users worldwide – including about a third of all Americans

Marco Rubio, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told DailyMail.com that ‘anything short of a complete separation’ of TikTok from ByteDance ‘will likely leave significant national security issues regarding operations, data and algorithms unresolved’.  

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Among the biggest American investors is venture capital giant Sequoia Capital. Its China arm, which reportedly owns around 10% of ByteDance, has donated over $8million to the Democrats since 2020 and has led further investment rounds in the Chinese firm since.

According to Federal Election Commission data, Sequoia partner Michael Moritz has donated more than $9million to political campaigns – and significantly ramped up his donations to Democrats in 2020 after Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok in the US.

Michael Moritz, chairman and managing partner of Sequoia Capital, which reportedly owns around 10% of ByteDance, has donated over $8million to the Democrats since 2020

Michael Moritz, chairman and managing partner of Sequoia Capital, which reportedly owns around 10% of ByteDance, has donated over $8million to the Democrats since 2020 

Over the last two years Moritz, who is neighbors with Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco, gave the Democrat-backing AB PAC $6million, $1.1million to fiercely anti-Trump Republican PAC the Lincoln Project and $1.5million to Pacronym, a PAC backing Democrat groups.

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Pacronym’s leader, Tara McGowan, has been accused of organizing a paid ‘propaganda’ campaign against Trump and his links to the January 6 riots through TikTok.

Conservative attorney and TikTok star Preston Moore revealed this month he was one of several influencers offered $400 by McGowan’s nonprofit the Good Information Foundation to post a video about the January 6 hearings.

Moore claimed the foundation was paying for an ‘anti-Trump propaganda post’.

In 2018 Moritz and his wife pledged $20million to the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a gift its executive director described as ‘one of the largest in our 98-year history’.

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Following the massive gift made via their foundation Crankstart, the ACLU then started campaigning for TikTok to remain operating in the US.

Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein, who is worth $4.6billion according to Forbes, is a close ally of President Biden, and has hosted Joe and Jill Biden at his $20million 13-acre Nantucket mansion twice

Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein, who is worth $4.6billion according to Forbes, is a close ally of President Biden, and has hosted Joe and Jill Biden at his $20million 13-acre Nantucket mansion twice

After Trump issued an executive order banning the app, the ACLU said it was ‘an unprecedented abuse of emergency powers’ and a First Amendment violation.

The organization also campaigned in 2020 to shut down the Department of Justice ‘China Initiative’ which scrutinized Chinese influence in scientific research and academia.

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Other Sequoia staff have close connections to Biden and his administration.

Sequoia Capital’s senior policy director Michael Ortiz was a member of the Biden transition team.

In 2020 and 2021 he served as a member of the National Security Council Agency Review Team and ‘led the confirmation teams of the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Deputy Secretary of Defense’ according to his profile on the World Economic Forum website.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden walk down the steps of Air Force One on  upon their arrival in Nantucket for the holiday in 2021

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden walk down the steps of Air Force One on  upon their arrival in Nantucket for the holiday in 2021

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Hunter Biden carrying Beau Biden disembarks from Air Force One with some of the other Biden grandkids for the Thanksgiving holiday

Hunter Biden carrying Beau Biden disembarks from Air Force One with some of the other Biden grandkids for the Thanksgiving holiday

An aerial view of the 13-acre compound owned by billionaire Carlyle group co-founder David Rubenstein on Nantucket Harbor

An aerial view of the 13-acre compound owned by billionaire Carlyle group co-founder David Rubenstein on Nantucket Harbor

Another ByteDance investor, private equity company Carlyle Group, bought its $150million stake in 2020.

Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein, who is worth $4.6billion according to Forbes, is a close ally of President Biden, and has hosted Joe and Jill Biden at his $20million 13-acre Nantucket mansion twice: when he was Vice President in 2014 and again for Thanksgiving last year, when Hunter Biden and his family was included in the celebration.

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Rubenstein has been pictured alongside Nancy Pelosi and interviewed her, Bill Clinton and George Bush for his book on leadership.

The Carlyle Group has its own PAC which spent $689,073 since 2019, roughly split between Republicans and Democrats.

Carlyle also has other large Chinese investments, including Alibaba and more than $2billion in China’s consumer sector since 2000 according to Yahoo Finance.

But the chummy relationships between TikTok and powerful Dems doesn’t stop there.

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According to lobbying disclosures, ByteDance hired Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s former aide to lobby for them this year.

Stacy Ettinger, a partner at lobbying group K&L Gates, was part of a team paid $40,000 to make ByteDance’s case in Washington DC. 

US investors in TikTok are donating millions to Dems as Biden pushes to let Chinese app continue 3

‘If you’re curious why Joe Biden and the Democrats have kicked the can on TikTok for so long, just follow the money,’ Republican Senator Senator Josh Hawley told DailyMail.com

The big donor checks from executives of TikTok’s financial backers have raised fears that the Biden administration may be pushed to take a soft line on the app which has been linked to misinformation campaigns and data security concerns.

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A July bulletin from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence warned about Beijing using economic interests to push for advantageous policies in Washington.

‘The PRC [People’s Republic of China] may use market access, investments, or economic dependency as leverage, and overtly press US leaders, particularly those with commercial interests in China, to lobby Washington for policies Beijing favors,’ the briefing said.  

And a source who has worked closely with congressional probes into Chinese influence in the US told DailyMail.com: ‘The CCP is very good at ensuring that the right influential US investors have a vested interest in Chinese companies like TikTok so that those investors can do their bidding in Washington.

The New York Times reported last  week that Deputy Attorney General  Lisa Monaco, who is leading the negotiations over TikTok’s US status, ‘has concerns that the terms are not tough enough on China’ according to two sources.

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Hawks who have expressed concern over the direction of US relations with China have been critical of the Biden administration’s openness to keeping the app available in the US.

In June Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores, claiming it ‘poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting being combined with Beijing’s apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data.’

Meanwhile TikTok has been in talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States over national security concerns due to its ties to China.

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