Even as Democrats pushed forward an unprecedented second impeachment effort this week in the wake of a deadly riot on Capitol Hill earlier this month, one former senator in the party is likely hoping to avoid the spotlight regarding her controversial new job.
According to Fox News, former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) recently faced widespread criticism for reports that she registered as a foreign agent with a Chinese company barred in 2019 by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Controversial lobbying position
Days later, and presumably due to the mounting pressure, she announced her decision to deregister and decline further work with the foreign entity.
The backlash stemmed from her position with Hikvision, a Chinese surveillance company that apparently hired her in large part because of her U.S. political connections.
Late last week, Boxer went through the appropriate channels to register as a foreign agent under the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act.
At the time, she noted that her position with Hikvision would be labeled as a “Strategic consultant” for a prominent lobbying firm, Mercury Public Affairs.
Likely shocking many even inside her own party was the news that President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration committee caught wind of the situation and returned Boxer’s donation of $500. Among Hikvision’s primary investors is the Chinese communist government.
“Therefore I have deregistered”
In a tweet on Tuesday, Boxer announced her decision.
“Due to the intense response to my registration I have determined that my continued work has become a negative distraction from my effort to preserve American jobs and make the company better,” she wrote. “Therefore I have deregistered.”
Defending her initial intentions in taking the position, Boxer claimed that she sought the opportunity to “help a company operate in a more responsible and humane manner consistent with U.S. law in spirit and letter.”
Aside from China being the company’s largest stakeholder, however, Hikvision has also faced intense scrutiny for its reported involvement in the repression of the Uighurs, China’s minority Muslim population.
As Axios reported, President Donald Trump’s administration banned the Chinese company from doing business with U.S. firms without proper licensing, citing their involvement in the controversy surrounding the Uighurs.