Eduardo Ivan Zapien, a high-profile Democratic lobbyist who previously served as the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Council Executive Director and insisted lobbyists would enjoy “a sense of comfort” during a Joe Biden presidency, lobbies for ZTE, a technology company with compromising links to the Chinese Communist Party.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) “deep concern” about the company being “beholden” to the CCP prompted the Trump administration to label the China-based company a “national security threat” and forbid federal subsidies from going to U.S. companies that collaborate with it.
This follows contentious negotiations with the company over its violation of U.S. sanctions by shipping telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea in 2018.
Amidst this struggle, Zapien has provided ZTE with strategic advising and consulting as a registered lobbyist for the company.
Zapien now profits from his positions as the National Outreach Director for the House Democratic Caucus from 2003 to 2005 and Senator Robert Menendez’s Chief of Staff from 2005 to 2008.
Spearheading House Democratic Caucus outreach, Zapien, who also holds Mexican citizenship, “managed relationships between the Caucus and lobbying firms, think tanks, industry associations, political committees, and NGOs,” and helped “to build a footprint for then-Congressman Menendez,” who he identified as a “rising star in National Democratic politics.”
He also served as the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) Hispanic Leadership Council from 2001 to 2003 and has been lauded by The Hill as a Top Lobbyist for 2019, received the Hispanic Lobbyist Association’s President’s Award along with the 2015 Alumni Achievement Award for Advocacy Efforts from George Washington University.
His tenure with the company began in 2018, but the specific duties he performs on behalf of ZTE remain unknown, as Zapien failed – like others in his party – to register with the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).
Zapier has however registered as a foreign agent for “rendering advice and providing representation” for Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
Given his decades of consulting experience, Politico approached the DNC bigwig on the impact of a Joe Biden presidency on lobbyists. Alluding to Biden’s staunch establishment record, Zapien responded:
“You sort of know what a Biden administration looks like, and there’s a sense of comfort in that.”
Zapien is no fan of President Trump, evident from tweets declaring a Trump victory “no bueno” and linking to articles insisting he reflects “white male fragility” and casting his victory as a result of “stupid” voters.
In contrast, the long-time Democrat tweeted “Viva Joe Biden.”
As a dismantler of the D.C. swamp, President Trump has disrupted the revolving door between the federal government and K Street – the antithesis of a Joe Biden presidency.
And it’s evident – from Zapien’s own words – that companies like ZTE would enjoy greater success in infiltrating U.S. technological infrastructure under a Biden administration, granting China the upper hand in its current economic and information warfare with the U.S.