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- TikTok has hired Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s predecessor to lobby on Capitol Hill.
- Former Rep. Joe Crowley reportedly helped TikTok’s CEO set up meetings with lawmakers in DC.
- Ocasio-Cortez has come out against banning TikTok, breaking with the Biden administration.
TikTok has a new defender in Washington.
Former Rep. Joe Crowley, the powerful New York Democrat who Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez famously ousted in a stunning primary upset in 2018, is now lobbying for TikTok, according to a recent disclosure first reported by The Hill.
Crowley, who was the fourth-highest ranking Democrat in Washington when he left office, has worked as a lobbyist at major law firms for the last several years and is now a policy director at the law firm Dentons.
But this time, Crowley finds himself on the same side as Ocasio-Cortez, who recently announced her opposition to banning TikTok.
TikTok is under intense pressure from US lawmakers both at the federal level in Washington and in states across the country over alleged national security threats it poses as a Chinese-owned company.
The popular social media platform has hired multiple former lawmakers and Hill staffers, both Democrats and Republicans, to help handle growing criticism and calls to ban the app in Washington. Politico reported last month that about three dozen people lobbied federal lawmakers for TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, in Washington in just the last three months of 2022.
The Biden administration has demanded that ByteDance sell off TikTok in order to alleviate some concerns about the Chinese government’s ability to collect data on American users through the app.
The White House is also supportive of legislation that would allow the federal government to fully ban TikTok if national security concerns aren’t resolved. The Trump administration similarly called for TikTok to be sold to an American buyer and former President Donald Trump signed an executive order in 2020 banning TikTok.
Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers in Washington have expressed growing concerns with the platform and recently grilled TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Chew, over the app’s ties to China.
Crowley and other former lawmakers helped Chew set up meetings on the Hill before he was torn apart by lawmakers in his five hour-long hearing, Politico reported.