TikTok hires Biden-connected firm as it finds itself under D.C.’s microscope
The fireplace TikTok has confronted in D.C. has been constructing for a lot of years after the Trump administration tried to ban the app. It has continued with the Biden administration’s Committee on Overseas Funding within the U.S. conducting a nationwide safety evaluate of TikTok.
SKDK is seen as probably the most well-connected Democratic firm in Washington with former prime staff in senior and mid-level roles within the Biden administration. Anita Dunn, a founding associate, returned to the White Home final Could the place she is senior adviser after a stint within the early a part of the Biden administration and work on the 2020 marketing campaign. Different former SKDK staff within the Biden administration embody deputy White Home communications administrators Kate Berner and Herbie Ziskend, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh and Inside Division press secretary Tyler Cherry.
Whereas it has thrived within the Biden period, SKDK has additionally confronted further scrutiny for its purchasers. It parted methods with Starbucks final 12 months as the espresso firm tried to fend off a union organizing effort. As of 2021, the firm labored for Amazon as effectively however it’s unclear whether or not the 2 firms nonetheless have a relationship.
Final 12 months, Dunn mentioned in monetary disclosure paperwork that she had suggested a lot of blue-chip American firms within the earlier two years who’ve enterprise earlier than the federal government, together with AT&T, Lyft, Pfizer and Salesforce. The firm, which is owned by the Stagwell Group, has lengthy emphasised that it doesn’t foyer the federal authorities or characterize firms on points earlier than the federal government.
The invoice launched by a bipartisan group of senators that might have an effect on TikTok is supported by the White Home. It might give the federal authorities new powers to limit, and doubtlessly ban, applied sciences from China and different nations designated as U.S. adversaries, though such an motion would face howls from advocates of free speech. TikTok is seen as one of many applied sciences that’s serving to immediate that motion from Congress given the concerns that the Chinese language authorities might in the future use knowledge from its hundreds of thousands of American customers.
To attempt to mitigate federal authorities motion towards TikTok, the app’s Chinese language proprietor ByteDance has spent more than $13 million on lobbying since 2019 and has hired a number of dozen lobbyists, together with former Senate Majority Chief Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux Sr. (R-La.), who work for Crossroads Methods, as effectively as former Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), who at present work for Okay&L Gates.