Authored by Eva Fu and Frank Fang via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) is introducing a bill aimed at preventing the Chinese regime from influencing the State Department.
The bill, called the No CCP Consultants Act, would prohibit the secretary of state from entering into, renewing, or extending contracts relating to “advisory and assistance services” with certain entities, including the governments of China and Russia.
“We must guard against the Chinese Communist Party and its web of espionage,” Mr. Green said in a statement to The Epoch Times on Oct. 31.
His bill will safeguard sensitive materials handled by the State Department, he said.
The entities that the bill named include China’s military, the Chinese regime’s security and intelligence agencies, Chinese companies that the Treasury Department has sanctioned for supporting the "Chinese Military-Industrial Complex," and other ones that the Pentagon has listed as having links to the Chinese military.
The bill would bar State Department engagement with consultancy contractors that had worked with any such Chinese entities in the prior year. The legislation would also require contractors that seek to perform consulting services for the State Department to disclose information regarding work with covered entities in the five years prior.
Any Chinese entity “directly or indirectly” under the control of the CCP would also be banned, the bill states, as would any Russian state-owned entity and those facing U.S. sanctions over Ukraine.
“Anyone who has the CCP as a client better be aware of the kind of regime they’re getting into business with,” Mr. Green told The Epoch Times. “This regime regularly commits cyber attacks against the United States and does everything in its power to weaken us and our allies. The CCP has no qualms about spreading disinformation, propaganda, and outright lies. The kind of firm that wants to do business with the CCP should not be trusted to work for our State Department.”
Concerns about Chinese espionage drew international attention when a Chinese spy balloon flew over the United States in February, passing over a number of sensitive military bases.
The Chinese regime has also targeted the State Department in its intelligence collection. In a month-long state-backed operation in May, Chinese hackers stole about 60,000 emails from State Department officials at about the time Secretary of State Antony Blinken was engaging with Beijing for talks.
In a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction, Mr. Green said the Chinese regime is a “direct threat to our national security” that “[steals] our advanced technologies.”
“[Communist China] has its hand in our port cranes, our children’s phones through TikTok, land near military installations, our farmland, our supply chain, and the devaluation of the dollar,” he said.
Aside from sensitive materials, Mr. Green noted that the State Department also has in its possession classified intelligence and the data of millions of Americans through passports and visas. As a result, it would be “foolish” to allow any CCP-linked consultants close proximity to the State Department, according to the congressman.
“Any consultant or firm which has worked for an adversarial government should have a stop sign put in its way when it comes to being retained by the State Department,” he said. “The stakes are too high.”
If enacted, the secretary of state, after consulting with the heads of federal executive agencies, including the homeland security secretary, would need to revise the State Department’s acquisition regulations, including policies to implement the ban against the covered entities.
In recent years, the Justice Department and the FBI have ramped up efforts to tackle Chinese infiltration, from bringing charges against American and Chinese researchers over alleged intellectual property theft to counterintelligence cases against former U.S. intelligence officials accused of sending secrets to the Chinese regime.
In 2013, a U.S. court sentenced a Chinese national, Liu Sixing, to 70 months in prison for illegally exporting U.S. military trade secrets to China. Mr. Liu stole thousands of electric files from his employer, L-3 Communications, a New Jersey-based defense contractor. The files contained information on U.S. guidance systems for missiles, rockets, and drones.
Candace Marie Claiborne, a former State Department employee, was sentenced to 40 months in prison in 2019 for providing internal State Department documents to China in exchange for money and gifts. The documents she stole included topics ranging from economics to visits by dignitaries between China and the United States.
In response to an inquiry from The Epoch Times, a State Department spokesperson said it does not comment on pending legislation.