In a surprising development to come as tensions between the United States and China are already at an all-time high, newly released campaign finance records show AOC is one of at least four House members who paid a Chinese newspaper thousands of dollars in campaign funds last year.
According to the filings from the Federal Election Commission , AOC paid Sing Tao Newspapers almost $1,500 to run advertisements for her campaign during the 2022 midterms.
House Reps. Grace Meng (D-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) and Kevin Mullin (D-CA) also reportedly paid the Chinese newspaper between $1,000 and $7,000 to run similar ads for their respective midterm campaigns last year.
Sing Tao U.S. is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Sing Tao News Corporation Ltd., according to Daily Mail , and the Chinese newspaper outlet was reportedly classified as a foreign agent by the Justice Department in August 2021.
Sing Tao’s U.S. operations also reportedly include a number of newspapers in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in addition to a radio station based out of Burlingame, California.
The majority of the company was reportedly purchased by the daughter of a wealthy Chinese property owner in June 2021, at which point the DOJ ordered the company to register as a Chinese foreign agent two months later.
Although the media company has insisted it is free from the Chinese Communist Party’s influence, it has been classified as both a foreign agent and a pro-Beijing outlet as tensions between Washington and Beijing continue to rise over the territorial status of the island nation of Taiwan.
House Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA) and Michael Guest (R-MS) announced the House Ethics probe into AOC in December 2022, although they emphasized that the investigation "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred."
While it is unclear whether the investigation is connected to AOC allegedly paying a Chinese foreign agent to help with her 2022 midterm reelection bid, the 33-year-old New York congresswoman is "fully participating" with the ongoing probe.
"[I have] always taken ethics incredibly seriously, refusing any donations from lobbyists, corporations, or other special interests,” AOC said in a statement after the investigation was announced. “We are confident that this matter will be dismissed."
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