WSJ: Donors With Ties To Chinese Government Gained Access To Trump, GOP
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Chinese nationals with ties to the Chinese government, including the U.S. adversary’s national-security apparatus, gained early access to President Donald Trump or “top Republicans at fundraisers or at an internal GOP leadership meeting” by donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump’s reelection bid.
According to The Journal, “Several of those involved worked closely with China’s national-security apparatus, including organizations linked to its military, and briefed prominent Chinese political figures about their efforts.”
Four men receive the most focus in the report, all of whom were connected to Shawn Steel, a Republican national committeeman from California: David Tian Wang, Tang Ben, Zhao Gang and Wu Guangsheng.
- Wang created a group called Chinese Americans for Trump in 2016, reportedly at the behest of China’s consulate in Los Angeles.
- Wang holds a U.S. green card, which allows him to work in the United States.
- The Journal reported that Wang “had long associations with people and groups in California supported by China’s government, according to Chinese official websites and state media,” and was asked by the consulate to help lobby the Trump administration on China issues.
Mr. Wang was soon listed as chief executive of a newly registered government-relations firm in California, Wang & Ma Government Relations LLC, state business records show. He also gave $150,000 to the Trump Victory fundraising committee, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures.
- Despite not being registered as a foreign lobbyist, Wang “was quoted in Chinese-language media in the U.S. as saying he used access to the Trump campaign to push a view that U.S. military deployments in the contested South China Sea were a waste of money.”
- The Journal reported that “Wang attended a Republican National Committee invitation-only leadership meeting in San Diego as a guest of Mr. Steel” in May 2017 — an event to which he brought three other Chinese men as guests.
- The meeting “was an early chance for Republican leaders to plan the path forward for the party after Mr. Trump’s inauguration.”
- Wang brought “Zhao Gang, whom Chinese official websites identify as a researcher for China’s Ministry of Science and Technology focused on national security, tech diplomacy and other issues.”
- According to the report, Zhao’s “work has connected him with the senior echelons of China’s Communist Party, including a close associate of President Xi Jinping, say people who have met Mr. Zhao.”
- Also in attendance was Tang Ben, who is a naturalized American citizen and along with his wife gave $300,000 to Trump Victory — among the largest donations made to the organization.
- Tang’s wife told The Journal that she was unfamiliar with any political donations and that her husband spent most of his time in China.
- Tang’s donation won him a fundraiser invite. After taking office, Trump and First Lady Melania Trump posed for photos with Tang.
On a Chinese social-media account, he posted photos of himself in the White House. “If the Chinese people wish to overtake the U.S., they must study the U.S.,” Mr. Tang wrote.
- Accompanying Tang to the fundraiser was Zhao and Wu Guangsheng, “the chairman of a state-backed Chinese producer of military communications and satellite equipment, Huaxun Fangzhou Co.”
- Wu reportedly told “Trump that Chinese technology companies were eager to invest in the U.S., according to an account on the website of Huaxun’s parent company.”
- The website also said that shortly before his trip to Washingtont, “Wu attended a meeting in Beijing with the then-head of the United Front Work Department, a Communist Party agency that seeks to shape global politics in China’s favor.”
The Journal noted that in response to its inquiries, “the Republican National Committee said it had instructed Mr. Steel to break ties with several people identified in Wall Street Journal reporting.”
“It’s important to do all we can to safeguard our politics from illegal foreign meddling,” the RNC said in response to questions. It said it wouldn’t return donations identified by the Journal that facilitated access to the president and other officials because it didn’t believe campaign-finance laws were broken.
The newspaper also reported that there is no indication that Trump was aware of the donations, adding that the White House did not respond to a request for comment.