The Democratic Party-aligned PR Company’s CLS strategies are campaigning for China’s Drone Company Bill to be blacklisted for alleged human rights abuses.

Ailan Evans

A public relations firm run by former Democracy Agents and tied to foreign influence campaigns are working on behalf of a Chinese drone manufacturer blacklisted for alleged human rights abuses to lobby corridor a provision contained in Congress’s bipartisan legislative package targeting China.

DJI, a drone maker based in Shenzhen, China, paid CLS Strategies $190,000 in 2021 to lobby on drone legislation including the Aircraft Act US security drones, follow to lobby for these forms of disclosure. Action already introduce again via Republican Senator Rick Scott in January and prevent the federal government from procuring drones made or assembled in China, with certain exceptions.

The US Security Drone Act is now part of the United States Competition and Innovation Act, a far-reaching act parcel was passed by the Senate in June to promote American innovation and technological competitiveness with China. The bill mainly includes investments in US technology research and development, as well as a number of national security measures including the supply of drones and a TikTok ban on its hardware. government, and expected to receive a House vote in the coming months.

CLS Strategies lobbyist for DJI on the US Security Drones Act is Andrew Koneschusky, formerly have worked is Senator Chuck Schumer’s national press secretary. Schumer introduced, and was the driving force behind, the US Competition and Innovation Act, of which the US Security Aircraft Act is now a part; It is not clear which lawmaker Koneschusky has lobbied for the drone bill.

DJI is also Hire lobbied the store Cassidy and Associates to lobby for “law relating to drone systems,” although it is unclear exactly which bill or whether the law is related to the issues. national security or not. Cassidy and associates bill itself is a “bipartisan” government problem-solving company whose staff includes “both Republicans and Democrats.”

Cassidy and associates did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

US Department of Commerce put DJI on its Entity List in December 2020, restricting US companies from exporting technology to DJI and accusing the drone maker of “encouraging widespread human rights abuses”. wide in China” through “high-tech surveillance”.

Bloomberg report In March 2020, DJI signed a 2017 agreement with police in Xinjiang province, China, where Uighur Muslims are currently being forced into labor and internment by the Chinese government.

The company has also been linked to national security and data privacy issues; Cybersecurity company River Loop Security has released a report claim that an app used to control one of DJI’s devices is sending data back to a server in mainland China, which the company alleges could be accessed by Chinese authorities under its terms of service. third-party server service. The Ministry of Defense has speak that DJI’s drone systems “pose potential threats to national security,” while the Department of Homeland Security speak it believes that DJI can “provide critical US infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government.”

To lobby on the US Security Drone Act, DJI enlisted CLS Strategies, a company with links to the Democratic Party.

The founding of CLS Strategies partner is Robert Chlopak, who served as executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, according to the CLS website. Chlopak is also a longtime Democratic donor, follow in Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.

Similarly, Mark Feierstein, is listed as a Senior advisor for CLS on the group’s website, having worked in the Clinton administration as a senior adviser and speechwriter for the US Ambassador to the Organization of American States. Feierstein also spent six years in the Obama administration, with part of his tenure devoted to Latin American affairs.

CLS was discovered by Facebook to have engaged in a coordinated campaign of political influence in several South American countries, consists of Bolivia and Venezuela, according to Facebook’s August 2020 Joint Report on Inauthentic Behavior.

“We removed 55 Facebook accounts, 42 Pages and 36 Instagram accounts linked to US-based strategic media company CLS Strategies,” Facebook said in the report, which included wallets such as a political ad against Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro. The social media company said CLS spent about $3.6 million on Facebook ads as part of the campaign.

CLS did not respond to DCNF’s request for comment.

DJI has itself lobbying on drone law, in particular the US Security Drone Act and UAS . Act, as well as the US Competition and Innovation Act.

When reached for comment, DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg dismissed any data and security concerns as unfounded, pointing out that few independent living company product reviews.

“We know critics and competitors have claimed otherwise, and to put it simply, their claims are false. They have not provided evidence to support their allegations,” Lisberg said. “When our products are evaluated on the basis of fact and technique, not headlines or allusions, their utility and security are unmatched.”

DJI declined to comment on any specific legislation.

The US Security Drone Act echoes the concerns of some Republican lawmakers about the potential national security risks posed by DJI. Representative Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz launched an investigation into the use of DJI products by state and local governments in May 2020.

US Secret Service and FBI have purchased DJI drones since the company was added to Entity List, according to first procurement filing report by Axios.

Following the Commerce Department’s decision to place DJI on the Entity List for alleged human rights violations, two of DJI’s lobbying firms – Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP, and K&L Gates LLP – end contract with the company.

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https://www.tampafp.com/democrat-linked-pr-firm-cls-strategies-is-lobbying-china-bill-for-drone-company-blacklisted-over-alleged-human-rights-abuses/ The Democratic Party-aligned PR Company’s CLS strategies are campaigning for China’s Drone Company Bill to be blacklisted for alleged human rights abuses.


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