Biden-Linked Firm Hired By TikTok 

( Politico reported last week that the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok has hired the Biden-connected consulting company SKDK now that it is facing increased scrutiny from lawmakers. 

SKDK is a public affairs and political consulting firm with several former high- and mid-level Biden administration officials on its payroll, including SKDK founding partner Anita Dunn. Biden administration alumni include Kate Berner and Herbie Zisken, both former deputy communications directors from the Biden White House, as well as former Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh and former Interior Department press secretary Tyler Cherry. 

TikTok is facing opposition from lawmakers and the Biden administration after the White House announced last Tuesday that it was backing the bipartisan Senate bill that would allow the Commerce Department to regulate and ban foreign technology from China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and Venezuela.  

While the bill, “Restricting the Emergency of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology” (RESTRICT) Act, does not specifically cite TikTok by name, both sponsors, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and John Thune (R-ND) have cited TikTok as a reason for the legislation. 

In an attempt to mitigate government action against the popular video platform, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has spent over $13 million on lobbyists since 2019, hiring several dozen firms, including Crossroads Strategies lobbyists Trent Lott (the former Senate Majority Leader), and former Republican Congressman John Breaux. ByteDance also employed former Congressmen Jeff Denham and Bart Gordon who are lobbyists with K&L Gates. 

In a statement last week, TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter questioned the necessity of the RESTRICT Act, arguing that the federal government already has the authority to oversee TikTok through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). 

Oberwetter said banning would be counterproductive to American interests and called on lawmakers to find other solutions to concerns over national security that don’t include “censoring millions of Americans.” 

Obertwetter also argued that a ban on TikTok would be a ban on the export of “American culture and values” to the “billion-plus” TikTok users worldwide.