EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., wrote to top government officials on Thursday, calling for an investigation into the use of American nonprofits by China to interfere in U.S. elections and policies — reflecting a growing concern that the communist government is seeking to meddle in the November election.
“Although publicly available assessments of the Chinese government efforts do not elaborate on how they are carrying out these efforts, it is clear that the Chinese government has experience using nongovernmental entities to execute the Chinese government’s policy goals,” Loeffler said in a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.
A number of officials have warned about possible election interference from China, along with other countries such as Iran and Russia. Officials have warned that China is seeking to change the policy environment, counter criticism of China and put pressure on officials who oppose the communist regime.
Barr was asked last month on CNN which country was more assertive and aggressive in election meddling.
“I believe it’s China,” Barr said. “Because I’ve seen the intelligence, that’s what I’ve concluded.”
In August, the intelligence community warned that Iran is seeking to undermine President Trump and Russia working to denigrate Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Officials also said China “prefers” that Trump does not win in November.
DNI’s John Ratcliffe told Fox News that China poses “a greater national security threat economically, militarily and technologically to the United States than any other nation.
“That includes threats of election influence and interference,” Ratcliffe said.
Loeffler cites reports that found the China Red Cross and other groups are tied to China and the Chinese Communist Party, as well as a New York Times article that found examples of Chinese influence campaigns in Europe and Australia.
“In the United States, laws such as the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) and campaign finance restrictions on foreign donations are designed to ensure transparency and prevent foreign influence in our political processes,” Loeffler wrote. “Because nonprofit organizations receive donations from foreign individuals and entities, however, they represent a potential loophole for through which the Chinese government could influence American policies and elections.”
Loeffler asks for the IRS to conduct a review of 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) filings for Chinese connections, for a list of entities who have received Chinese money and engaged in political activity to go to the DOJ, and for the DOJ to coordinate efforts to identify and prevent Chinese efforts to meddle in the election via nonprofits.
The Trump administration has been ramping up its efforts to crack down on Chinese influence at home and abroad in recent months, particularly since the outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in China.
Among the various measures the administration has taken is a State Department move in August to designate the Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS) as a Chinese foreign mission.
The statement described the CIUS, which is funded by the Chinese government, as “an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms” and one that is part of its communist party apparatus. The center denied the claims and accused the administration of “international saber rattling.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.