Brian McKeon, Barack Obama’s Deputy Director For Voter Protection, now serves as a lobbyist for Tencent – a tech platform flagged by the U.S. State Department as a “tool” of the Chinese Communist Party.
First retained by Tencent in August 2020 to lobby against the Trump administration’s proposed ban on its platform WeChat, McKeon is still registered as an active lobbyist on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party-linked tech firm.
In the first three months of 2021, McKeon’s firm, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, received $200,000 in recorded compensation from Tencent. During that time period, the Biden White House also dropped the Trump administration’s efforts to ban the platform due to national security concerns.
According to The Washington Post, McKeon was a “deputy director for voter protection for Obama for America, helping oversee the effort to recruit and organize attorneys to be poll watchers in the 2012 election.”
Brian served in senior roles for both Shaheen and Boxer’s Senate campaigns, and as a deputy voter protection director to Obama for America.
The State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation has described Tencent as a “tool of the Chinese government,” noting the company has “no meaningful ability to tell the Chinese Communist Party ‘no’ if officials decide to ask for their assistance.” Even the progressive group Amnesty International rated Tencent’s data encryption capabilities zero out of 100, noting it hadn’t “stated publicly that they will not grant government requests to the backdoor.”
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It provides “a foundation of technology-facilitated surveillance and social control” as part of the Chinese government’s broader crusade “to shape the world consistent with its authoritarian model,” the State Department report added.
Other lobbyists on the account include Alfred Mottur, whose professional bio boasts of his connection “with leaders at the highest levels of Democratic politics, in both Congress and the Biden administration.”
“In addition to his advocacy, Al is a prolific fundraiser for the Democratic Party. He spearheaded the firm’s bundling efforts during the last presidential election, raising more money for the DNC than any other D.C. lobbying firm,” Mottur’s bio also notes.
Former Congressman Ed Royce and Travis Norton, a former advisor to Senator Tim Scott, are also listed on the registration. Marc Lampkin, who’s worked for former Speaker of the House John Boehner and George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, and Greta Joynes, who’s worked for Representative John Shimkus, are also working on behalf of Tencent.