Newsom Dinner Party Pal, Facebook VP, McCain Adviser Among Lobbyists For Firm Set To Be Blacklisted By Trump Over Chinese Military Ties


The Trump administration is set to add more Chinese Communist Party-linked companies to its defense blacklist. One of the entities counts a close friend and adviser to California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Facebook Vice President, and a former adviser to the late Senator John McCain amongst its lobbying team.

According to a Reuters report, companies targeted by the Trump administration include China’s top chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), China Construction Technology Co, and China International Engineering Consulting Corp.

The U.S. has designated an additional 35 entities as having ties to China’s military.

One company singled out by the Trump administration, CNOOC, has an extensive team of U.S.-based lobbyists.

Among the American taking cash from the state-run and military-linked oil firm are Charles Black, Jason Kinney, and Michael Buckley.


Black, for a retainer of $60,000, provided CNOOC with “strategic and political counsel and government relations services” in an attempt to “promote federal government approval” of CNOOC purchasing assets of the California-based Unocal corporation.

“Under this agreement BKSH will provide the services of Charlie Black to perform a leadership role for the Client’s team of consultants, lobbyists and attorneys in this project,” Black’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filing reveals.

Black served as a senior political advisor and strategist to Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and sits on the McCain Institute Human Trafficking Advisory Council.

Black’s FARA letter.

He also served as the Chief Spokesman for the Republican National Committee and the Campaign Spokesman for the 1992 Bush for President campaign.


While at California Strategies, Jason Kinney earned a monthly retainer of $25,000 for “communicating with California elected and appointed officials concerning issues relating to the bid offer to merge with Unocal corporation.”

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Kinney, whom Newsom described as a “friend that I’ve known for almost 20 years,” was the individual whose birthday part was being celebrated at the California Governor’s now-infamous French Laundry dinner.

Newsom dined in a 12-person group at a restaurant, despite imposing tough restrictions on California residents gathering in large groups and recently forcing restaurants to shutdown their in-person services.


Buckley, who was listed as a “leading” member of the Brunswick Group’s CNOOC lobbying team, assisted with the effort to “assist CNOOC with all communications needs related to this project.”

“CNOOC is admired, with a reputation for caution and financial prudence – we need to make sure that reputation remains in succeeding this transaction,” the FARA filing notes.

Brunswick boosting CNOOC.

Before serving as Senior Counselor to the Brunswick Group, Buckley’s prior job was Facebook’s Vice President of Global Business Communications.

He held the position from 2013 to 2016, which he described as “leading [a] 70-person global team with responsibilities including oversight of all corporate, policy, internal, international, and advertising/monetization communications” on his LinkedIn.


Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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