While TikTok defends itself, the White House is overflowing with lobbyists connected to the firm.
In a sign that our political times are changing, the White House was filled with influencers. They huddled together on the grounds for photo ops. Even President Jose Biden was seen posing with people he hadn’t heard of before. These outreach specialists were brought in to help sell the Inflation Reduction Act to their audience.
Their presence called to mind the painful-to-watch/unable-to-look-away episode where TikTok “star” Benny Drama was cavorting around the White House in a cringe video with Jen Psaki, ostensibly meant to promote COVID vaccinations. Officials seemed to ignore the fact that the shot was mentioned only in four seconds of the video. It was a demonstration of the Biden people’s concerted effort to use the platform that is controversially Chinese-backed, while also distancing themselves from its use due to security concerns.
This contradictory approach can still be seen today as the CEO was just grilled by The Hill in a hearing most called a disaster. All the while, the administration continues to look for TikTok’s influence on its agitprop. This not only contradicts the campaign to reduce exposure to Chi-Coms, as they are known for using the platform to mine information – but it also highlights the serious conflicts within the Biden inner circles involving the company.
— Nilesh (@NileshBharadiy) March 11, 2022
Politico just published a piece on TikTok’s attempts to establish and maintain its position as the top video social network in the country. However, there are some interesting details about the Biden camp. The powerful, left-leaning lobbying firm SKDK is currently representing TikTok. As it stands now, many former employees of that firm are working in the White House. Anita Dunn, Biden’s senior advisor, is one such example.
A surprising number of lobbyists are found in the orbit of President Obama, even though he has only given lip service to their cause. Other former SKDK employees are also part of the Biden administration: Kate Berner and Herbie Ziskend as deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh, Tyler Cherry, Interior Department press secretary Tyler Cherry. At least ten SKDK graduates are now part of the administration, and that’s just one firm.
This could be a problem for the administration. Dunn was required to reveal her financial details and to sell off any holdings when she returned to the White House last year. This would apply to the company she helped found and the millions she had with its stock. (She had not yet fulfilled the requirement by September last year. Dunn must also be omitted from any work that might involve her former employer. A White House spokesperson announced that Dunn would need to sell her holdings and be removed from any matters involving SKDK or her clients in the past.
Politico points out that Dunn was working in the White House recently to encourage TikTok users to support issues such as President Biden’s State of the Union address.
Anita Dunn, a senior White House adviser, pointed out the app to allies during a “Women’s Community Engagement update” hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement. This was just before Biden’s State of the Union address. According to two participants on the call, Dunn stated that the White House wanted social media users to highlight the achievements of the administration. Dunn stated that TikTok was not available to the White House. She suggested, however, that people on the call could use TikTok if they wanted to share portions of the president’s speech.
Although the announcement of the deal between SKDK & TikTok was made in the first week of March, it was clearly a long-awaited arrangement. This means that SKDK was already working with TikTok to promote the platform. However, Dunn was trying to get TikTok influencers to support her efforts. This conflict appears to have been in direct violation of her White House recusal orders.
The company is also gathering its own share of Biden acolytes who will work directly for it. The lobbying efforts in 2022 totaled more than $5 million. This amount is likely to rise as opposition in D.C. grows. It was revealed that TikTok had hired a second name, with Biden connections, to help it lobby.
According to documents filed with Congress last week, the company hired Ankit Desai as a lobbyist for hire. Desai was previously employed by Biden’s office while he was a senator in 2005. This hire follows the recruitment of Jamal Brown, a former national press secretary for President 2020.
To show just how far the complicity can go, and to explain some of the reticence of the media to detail such maneuvers too accurately. Hilary Rosen is now Anita Dunn’s defense. CNN’s commentator, Hilary Rosen, strongly denied any suggestion of improper conduct by Biden’s Senior Advisor.
This is total BS. Anita just doesn’t operate that way. AND she has no financial interest, (as I don’t) in SKDK anymore.
— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) March 30, 2023
This is not a valid source of character, considering that Rosen was a partner with Anita Dunn, SKDK, from March 2022 to March 2022. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she was involved in the #WeHaveHerBack push for Kamala Harris. As an expert on the news network, she can expect similar coverage or, for Dunn, none at all.
All of this shows how deep the tendrils run through The Swamp. TikTok employs a strong lobbying firm. The firm has plants all over the White House. Administration officials promote the platform. Former Biden aids are also hired by the company. Even those in the media have allied relationships. The Chi-Coms are likely to be giggling at the absurdity of this all. Or they may be laughing.