Huawei beefs up lobbying amid Trump crackdown

Huawei beefs up lobbying amid Trump crackdown
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Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom firm, is bringing on new lobbying help amid a Trump administration ban on sales to federal agencies.

The firm has already spent $125,000 on lobbying in the first two quarters of this year, a pace that will lead it to top the $165,000 it spent in 2018.

Last year, the company only had two firms on retainer, APCO Worldwide and Strategic Public Affairs. Now, in addition to a $10,000 contract for APCO Worldwide, the firm has also engaged Steptoe & Johnson with a $100,000 contract and Jones Day, with a $20,000 contract.

Only four lobbyists total were lobbying domestically for Huawei until the company nearly doubled its lobbying manpower this summer.

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On July 1, it hired Sidley Austin to lobby on export controls, trade and economic sanctions and other national security-related topics, according to lobbying disclosures. Robert Torresen, who focuses on exports and economic sanctions, along with Thomas Green and Mark Hopson, both with backgrounds in white-collar law, will work on the account.

Huawei has one registered in-house lobbyist, Donald Morrissey, who previously worked for former Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.).

Former Associate Deputy Attorney General Samir Jain is on the account with Jones Day. Jain was also senior director at the National Security Council for cybersecurity under President Obama. Jones Day's lobbying contract includes security-related issues arising under the National Defense Authorization Act, among other issues.

Steptoe & Johnson has Richard Cunningham on the account, a leading international trade lawyer. Former Rep. Don Bonker (D-Wash.) is on the account for APCO Worldwide. Bonker left Congress in 1989 and focuses his lobbying work on international trade.

The moves come as the Trump administration is restricting Huawei from doing business with the federal government over concerns the company is a national security risk. The U.S. intelligence community has warned that Huawei has ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has denied those claims.

The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and NASA issued an interim rule, which went into effect on Tuesday, that banned federal purchases of telecommunications equipment from it and four other Chinese companies, including ZTE.

The administration is also pushing the United Kingdom and other allies to distance themselves from Huawei after ex-Prime Minister Theresa MayTheresa Mary MayBoris Johnson is under pressure to stand up to Trump on climate change Report: Trump UK ambassador fired deputy for mentioning Obama in speech The US needs a Secretary of Loneliness MORE gave Huawei limited access to parts of the British 5G network.