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Hawley calls on CFIUS to reject Oracle-TikTok deal

Hawley calls on CFIUS to reject Oracle-TikTok deal
© Greg Nash

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyDespite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill GOP chairman: Defense bill to include renaming Confederate bases, but not Section 230 repeal Time to bring federal employees home for every holiday MORE (R-Mo.) urged the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States on Monday to reject a proposal where Oracle would become TikTok's partner.

The two companies over the weekend submitted a deal with ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, where Oracle would be the short-form video apps "trusted technology provider" to the Treasury Department.

CFIUS, an interagency body that deals with national security concerns stemming from transactions involving overseas companies, will now have to review the deal before approving it.

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The deal with the wildly-popular social media app was forced by two executive orders blocking American companies from dealing with ByteDance and pressing for the divestiture of TikTok's U.S. operations.

The justification for President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE's executive orders was the nebulous national security threat posed by TikTok's parent company being based in China.

Hawley raised concerns in Monday's letter that the proposed partnership — details of which have not been made available  would not address the threat of the Chinese government accessing user data or pushing messaging on TikTok.

"China’s repressive intelligence laws, which allow the seizure of data from Chinese companies like ByteDance if the Chinese Communist Party comes knocking, still remain in force," the Missouri lawmaker wrote. "And that is why any corporate shell game that leaves TikTok in the hands of ByteDance will simply perpetuate the original problem, leaving U.S. national interests and everyday users at serious risk."

Hawley argued that the phrasing of the agreement suggests that ByteDance has "no intention whatsoever of relinquishing ultimate control of TikTok."

"CFIUS should promptly reject any Oracle-ByteDance collaboration and send the ball back to ByteDance’s court so that the company can come up with a more acceptable solution," he wrote.

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Hawley, a noted China hawk, has been a fervent critic of TikTok.

He was a lead sponsor on a bill passed by the Senate last month banning the use of TikTok on federal devices.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday morning that the government plans to review the proposed deal this week.

President Trump will ultimately have significant say over whether the deal is approved.

Oracle and the administration have a number of close ties.

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison hosted a fundraiser for the president earlier this year. Safra Catz, Oracle's CEO, was part of Trump's transition team in 2016 and was reportedly floated to join his cabinet. The company's D.C. top lobbyist, Ken Glueck, was also on Trump's transition team.