Joe Biden’s inaugural committee is refunding a $500 campaign donation from former Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., over her registration as a foreign agent with a firm tied to the Chinese Communist Party.
Boxer now serves as Los Angeles co-chair of Mercury Public Affairs, which recently began to work with Chinese surveillance company Hikvision.
The federal government has banned U.S. companies from doing unlicensed business with Hikvision due to its role in monitoring interned Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.
Last year, the Trump administration outright barred U.S. investment in Hikvision, and in 2019 the Commerce Department added Hikvision to a trade blacklist for “repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance.”
Now, however, Boxer is working with Hikvision’s account.
Her registration form, filed through the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, says she will be providing “strategic counsel” to Hikvision, which has installed devices throughout China’s concentration camps.
She is one of two former senators to work with the company, the other being former Sen. David Vitter, R-La., according to Axios.
Biden’s campaign said it did not seek out a donation from Boxer and agreed to refund her immediately after her registration with Hikvision became public knowledge.
Boxer defended her new position, claiming she only intends to help “create American jobs.”
“When I am asked to provide strategic advice to help a company operate in a more responsible and humane manner consistent with U.S. law in spirit and letter, it is an opportunity to make things better while helping protect and create American jobs,” Boxer told Axios.
Hikvision’s tie to Boxer suggests the company is looking to influence the U.S. government.
Hikvision already uses cameras to monitor U.S. military bases, streets, and homes, according to the Wall Street Journal, sparking cybersecurity concerns that China is using the company to spy on American citizens.