UniParty Alert: Republican Lobbying Firm Represented CCP Front Group, PLA Arms Manufacturer & More
BGR Government Affairs, LLC Signed $400K Contract with China-U.S. Exchange Foundation & Represented Defense Company Founded by the People's Liberation Army, as well as a Chinese State-Owned Steel Company.
In another example of how foreign money, specifically Chinese Communist Party-linked money, has infiltrated the elite ranks of both political parties in Washington, DC, appropriately and derogatorily called the UniParty, Intrepid Research has looked into the dealings of BGR Group. This is a lobbying firm established by Republican political veterans Haley Barbour, Lanny Griffith, and Ed Rogers.
In 2019, the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), run by a high-level CCP member, hired BGR to "serve as a liaison for CUSEF in the United 5tates and provide strategic advice and government relations assistance with respect to US-China relations." The $400K (plus expenses) contract was signed by BGR Founding Partner Ed Rogers, who a former BGR employee we contacted called "a greedy s-o-b."
Our contact said, "BGR started out as a conservative firm working for conservative causes. Now, they are 'bipartisan' and a very profit-oriented firm." Looking at the list of other clients BGR has had, it is a roster of corruption: Russia's Gazprom, Alfa Bank and Uranium One; Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom, the Government of Qatar; the Government of Eritrea; Big Pharma; the AFL-CIO. Disappointing. We actually used to admire Haley Barbour.
This CUSEF contract wasn't just a one-off as far as Chinese-government connected clients go, however. BGR has had other questionable Chinese clients and actually has an office in Beijing. The company website states, "BGR China was launched in 2017 to meet the growing demand of our international clients to engage more effectively in China and for Chinese clients to expand their footprint in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere." BGR's Beijing Director James Liu, who has been with BGR since 2017 according to his bio, has represented state-owned companies in China on investments in Europe and the United States. It goes on to say he "played [a] key role in helping a Chinese conglomerate lift U.S.-imposed sanctions."
Another client of BGR is Jinghua Rizhao Steel Holding Group, Ltd. They paid BGR $950,000 to lobby for them between 2017-2019. This company was founded by Chinese billionaire Shanghua Du, once reported to be the second-richest man in China with ties to the family of former Chinese President Hu Jintao. He has even held local and provincial political positions himself, according to Australia's news.com.au. Rizhao Steel was nationalized through a merger with Shandong Steel in 2009. A steel-industry bribery scandal in Australia implicated Du and his company, though he has never been charged, likely due to his political connections.
A disturbing client of BGR is Poly Technologies, Inc. This is a Chinese defense company founded by the People's Liberation Army. They paid BGR $130K in 2015, but have been listed as a client of theirs from 2015-2019. According to BGR's lobbying reports filed with the U.S. Senate, Poly Technologies hired BGR for "strategic guidance and counsel on strengthening relations with United States Government," specifically the U.S. Departments of Commerce and State. Poly Technologies was sanctioned by the U.S. State Department in 2013 for violating the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act.
Most recently, BGR is working on behalf of Beijing Xiaomi Mobile Software Co., Ltd., the second-largest manufacturer of smartphones in the world, among other products. BGR registered to lobby for the company in February 2021 after the U.S. Government sanctioned them in January 2021 for having links to the PLA. They were paid $220K through the law firm of Edward B. MacMahon, Jr. on behalf of Xiaomi. They were tasked with providing "strategic counsel and advocate on issues pertaining to possible sanctions." Their lobby targets were the Department of Commerce, State Department, House of Representatives, Senate, Department of Defense, and the National Security Council. Xiaomi was removed from the Pentagon's blacklist of banned companies in May of this year.
Worth noting, BGR filed FARA documentation related to their contract with CUSEF. They did not file FARA paperwork for their work with any of the other companies mentioned above. They did file lobbying reports with the U.S. House and Senate related to that work, but with minimal information.
BGR Founder and former RNC Chair and Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, has a history with China before BGR. As governor, he took a trade mission to China in 2005. He welcomed Chinese delegations to Mississippi in 2007 and 2009. Barbour embraced China as an economic development partner for Mississippi.
Before that, in the mid-1990s, Barbour had dealings with a Hong Kong businessman that led to investigations of his tenure as Republican National Committee Chairman. The businessman was reportedly looking to Barbour for assistance with deals in China in exchange for helping the RNC with financing and the two traveled to China together. In his 1997 testimony to Congress, he expressed his belief that U.S. policy encouraged trade with China and that America's "one China policy" had been in place for decades.
Fast forward to now, when so much more is known about the murderous anti-American communist regime in Beijing. Why is BGR advocating on their behalf? Money, obviously. The DC Swamp has turned into the CCP's playground. They have corrupted the elites on both sides of the aisle and every bit of communist-funded graft in both parties should be exposed. Intrepid Research will continue to investigate.