For Immediate Release

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David Vance (202) 736-5712

Common Cause Urges Congressional Oversight Committees to Investigate Trump Administration Dealings with ZTE & Chinese Govt

WASHINGTON - Today, Common Cause urged congressional oversight committees to investigate and hold hearings on the Trump Administration’s interactions with Chinese government officials and ZTE, a company that violated trade sanctions with Iran and has been deemed a security threat by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The letter urges the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to investigate the appearance of “cronyism, nepotism, abuse of power, and conflicts of interest,” around the lifting of the ban on U.S. companies doing business with ZTE around the time the Chinese government granted sought-after trademarks to first daughter Ivanka Trump.

“Americans expect and deserve open and honest government, and the dealings between the Trump Administration, the Chinese government and ZTE raise a host of red flags that at the very least have the appearance of the President abusing his office to enrich his family,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “The American people deserve answers about these controversial dealings, but the White House refuses to even offer a coherent explanation for its actions, so it falls to Congress to exercise its oversight responsibilities. The office of the President is not intended for self-enrichment, but the President and members of the Trump family have seen a massive windfall since Donald Trump took office. Members of Congress must put their country before their party and begin asking some tough questions of the Administration.”


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The letter urges the committees to seek answers to critical questions concerning the negotiation of the deals including:

  • Were the trademarks granted to Ivanka Trump’s business a direct part of the negotiations with China?
  • To what degree was President Trump personally involved in these deals? 
  • If President Trump wasn’t directly involved in these negotiations, did he order anyone to establish certain parameters for the deal, such as the Chinese government granting trademarks for his daughter’s business?
  • Have ZTE and the Chinese government lobbied the Administration about the deal? Have they legally registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)?

To read the letter, click here.

To view this release online, click here.


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Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.

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