A former high-ranking House Democrat helped make $70,000 lobbying for TikTok in the first quarter of 2023, per public filings.
Former Rep. Joe Crowley, who last served as the fourth-highest House Democrat as chair of the House Democratic Caucus, became a lobbyist for TikTok and represented the firm on Capitol Hill during the first quarter of 2023, according to a disclosure filed with Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. Crowley’s work, done under the firm Dentons LLP, made $70,000 in income, per the disclosure, which was reported because it exceeded the $5,000 threshold for minor work.
Crowley served in Congress for 20 years until 2019 and was seen as a possible replacement for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic Leader until he was defeated in 2018 in New York’s 14th Congressional District Democratic Primary by now-Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Crowley was jointly listed on the filing with former Republican Rep. Jeff Denham of California who, like Crowley, left Congress in 2019 but was never part of the GOP leadership.
TikTok, a social media app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has come under heavy scrutiny by Congress for concerns over Americans’ data privacy on the app, which has led to several attempts to ban it from the U.S. marketplace. TikTok has over 150 million user accounts in the United States, according to the company.
Crowley’s time as a lobbyist for TikTok overlapped with a high-profile Congressional hearing of testimony from the company’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, a Singaporean executive. Crowley, according to Politico, made introductions to top House Democrats before the hearings to help prepare Shou, according to Politico.
TikTok CEO Shou Chew came to Capitol Hill today for his first Congressional hearing at @housecommerce.
It did not go well for TikTok: pic.twitter.com/OmJM4c8OXl
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) March 24, 2023
Crowley is one of many hires by TikTok of prominent political figures, part of an influence strategy in Washington, D.C. to keep the company operable in the U.S. That effort includes ads on the city’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority subway lines and large public-facing sponsorships, such as its sponsoring of the Politico Playbook and The Hill, a newspaper focused on Congress.
U.S. concerns about TikTok stem from the location of its primary servers in China, as well as that country’s National Security Law, which requires all Chinese companies to turn over any data requested by the government.
Crowley and TikTok have been contacted by the Daily Caller News Foundation for comment.
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