Huawei spent a record $1.8 million on federal lobbying activities in the third quarter, following the company hiring a fundraiser for President Donald Trump, Bloomberg reports citing federal disclosures.
The company, which was barred from purchasing American technologies and doing business with US companies in May following charges of industrial espionage, has dramatically increased its lobbying expenses from $30,000 recorded in the same period in 2018.
In the meantime, $1.7 million of the gigantic sum was said to have been paid to lobbyist Michael Esposito, the president of Federal Advocates Inc. and a part of the Republican National Committee Chairman’s Advisory Board. According to the company’s website, Esposito describes himself as a member of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, a fundraising commission that serves both the US president's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee.
The tech giant’s leadership is believed to have hired a prominent Republican fundraiser to help it fight the ban by the US Commerce Department prohibiting US companies from selling components to Huawei and 70 of its subsidiaries, citing threats to national security arising from the firm's alleged illegal surveillance activities on behalf of the Chinese government. Both Huawei and Beijing have denied the accusations, calling them unjustified and politically motivated anti-competitive practices caused by an escalation in the China-US trade war.
Neither Huawei's representatives nor Esposito have commented on the issue, but the brand has clearly been increasing its visibility and outreach to the press by trying to pursue a legal and public campaign against the ban, with a recent journalists’ reception held by the company during the International Monetary Fund meetings last week, attended by some top Huawei executives, including Chief Security Officer Andy Purdy.
Despite the ongoing ban, the company managed to raise its revenue by 24% in 2019, with global smartphone shipments increasing 26%. It was previously reported that Huawei had struck more than 50 commercial 5G contracts worldwide related to the propagation of superfast fifth-generation technologies.