Rep. Adam Schiff Fundraises On China-Owned TikTok After Getting Booted From Intel Committee

James Lynch Contributor
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California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff delivered a fundraising pitch on the Chinese-owned TikTok app shortly after Speaker Kevin McCarthy removed him from the House Intelligence Committee.

Schiff posted a video accusing McCarthy of removing him from the committee “for doing my job, for holding Trump accountable and standing up to the extreme MAGA Republicans” before asking for donations.

Schiff served as chair of the House Intelligence Committee from 2019-2023, when Democrats held a majority in the chamber. After winning the speakership, McCarthy removed Schiff and California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell. “I cannot put partisan loyalty ahead of national security,” McCarthy explained in a letter to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

“It is my assessment that the misuse of this panel during the 116th and 117th Congresses severely undermined its primary national security and oversight missions— ultimately leaving our nation less safe,” McCarthy said.

TikTok is owned by China-based tech firm ByteDance, and the company’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party are under national security review by the Treasury Department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Congress recently passed legislation banning TikTok from being used on government devices due to national security concerns. The federal ban followed a wave of similar restrictions in several states.

In Sept. 2022, the New York Times reported that TikTok and the Biden administration negotiated a draft agreement for TikTok to continue operating in the United States without fundamentally changing its ownership structure.

The negotiations have been delayed because of persistent national security concerns surrounding TikTok’s trustworthiness and its potent recommendation algorithm, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray said during a Nov. 2022 hearing that the bureau is concerned about TikTok operating in the U.S. The company has spent $1.5 billion building a U.S. based subsidiary to store American user data with oversight from Oracle Corp. and a board of national security professionals, Reuters reported.

Tech analysts believe TikTok’s oversight proposal would not prevent China from having access from U.S. user data, which has repeatedly been accessed by China-based ByteDance employees without users’ permission, according to reports from Forbes and Buzzfeed.

“As we debate solutions to the TikTok problem, it’s important to understand that the app has captured the left. Politicians like Schiff are reliant on the platform to message and campaign. This is why they favor a U.S. sale over a ban. It has nothing to do with security,” tweeted Heritage Foundation Tech Analyst Jake Denton.

Rep. Schiff announced a run for Senate on Thursday, entering a growing field of Democratic candidates vying for 89-year-old Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat. Feinstein has filed for reelection but has not launched a campaign for a sixth term.