Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is fighting Republican attacks over his business ties to China as the Georgia runoff nears, but the Hunter Biden and Eric Swalwell scandals involving Beijing aren’t making it any easier.
Mr. Biden, the president-elect’s son, and California Democratic Rep. Swalwell have kept stories about Beijing’s influence in the news, lending oxygen to Republicans hammering Mr. Ossoff‘s link to a Hong Kong conglomerate owned in part by the Chinese communist government.
Mr. Ossoff, a Democrat challenging Republican Sen. David Perdue in the Jan. 5 runoff, slipped a few points in the Dec. 18 poll by the Trafalgar Group, which pollster Robert Cahaly attributed primarily to the China issue. . . .
Alarm over Chinese influence soared starting in mid-October with new reports of Hunter Biden’s lucrative business deals with Beijing, followed by an Axios investigation earlier this month into a suspected Chinese spy who became chummy with some California Democrats, including Mr. Swalwell.
The Perdue campaign connected the dots in a digital ad with news clips of critics, including Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee Republican, raising concerns about Mr. Ossoff’s company receiving payments from PCCW Media, which is owned in part by China Unicom, a state-run telecommunications provider.
House Democrats stripped down an anti-China bill that unanimously passed in the Senate by removing language reining in Chinese government influence on U.S. campuses.
The Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act included a provision that authorized the Department of Education to withhold funding from U.S. universities that host Chinese government-backed Confucius Institutes on campus. House Democrats removed the measure from the final version of the bill following negotiations. Louisiana senator John Kennedy (R.), who helped write the anti-Confucius Institute measure, said Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) had “gutted” a key weapon to counter Chinese influence in academia.
“Communist China is still buying influence on U.S. campuses,” Kennedy said. “Yet Democrats gutted an NDAA amendment that would protect academic freedom and give U.S. colleges control over what Confucius Institutes teach on our soil.”
The NDAA provisions were originally part of the CONFUCIUS Act, which unanimously passed in the Senate in June. The House Democrats’ decision to water down the provisions comes after Pelosi stonewalled action on the CONFUCIUS Act for months, pushing her caucus to vote down Republican attempts to put it on the House floor. The attitude is consistent with Democratic leadership’s ambivalence when it comes to China-related issues: Pelosi and others have thus far ignored Republican requests to remove Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.) from the House Intelligence Committee after a report revealed that he unknowingly interacted with a Chinese spy.
Pelosi’s office did not respond to a request for comment.