Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) introduced a bill in the House of Representatives on Wednesday to ban consulting firms with ties to China, Russia, and other enemy states from signing lucrative contracts with the State Department.
The “No CCP Consultants Act,” named for the Chinese Communist Party, would require companies seeking consulting contracts with the State Department to disclose any ongoing contractual relationships, or any occurring in the last five years, with entities tied to the Chinese government, Russian government, sanctioned entities or individuals, or sponsors of terrorism. It prevents the State Department from signing contracts with such companies.
The State Department hires consultants for a variety of services, including but not limited to IT work, staffing, and streamlining of services. While not the only federal government department subject to scrutiny over its use of consultants – the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. came under fire in 2021 for working with both Chinese regime corporations and the Pentagon – the diplomatic nature of the work the State Department conducts makes it a prime target for espionage and theft of state secrets.
The State Department has awarded contracts in the past to companies with ties to China. The department has, for example, for years worked with the global consulting firm Deloitte. Under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Deloitte signed a contract granting it up to $265 million to help redesign the structure of the entire department to make it more efficient. Deloitte received a new contract in April to “help the State Department manage information technology programs and projects under a bridge contract valued at $104.8 million.”
Deloitte openly boasts of its work in China on its website, which proclaims a “long-term commitment to be a leading contributor to China’s reform, opening-up and economic development.” It has since been targeted, as have other international firms, in an ongoing crackdown on foreign consultancies by the Communist Party, which temporarily shut down its Beijing office in March and heavily fined the firm.
Rep. Green, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, told Breitbart News on Wednesday that his bill is a necessary protective measure in light of China’s prodigious espionage efforts and aggressive adversarial stance against the United States.
“Communist China is notorious for stealing sensitive technologies from U.S. companies and the U.S. government,” Rep. Green told Breitbart News. “Why would we place those with connections to the CCP in our State Department?”
The text of the bill specifically requires consultants to disclose any contracts, grants, or “other financial awards” in the last five years tied to any entity listed in the bill. Companies disclosing such arrangements will not be eligible to apply to offer the State Department their services.
The banned entities listed in the bill include the Chinese Communist Party itself alongside an extended list of companies and government agencies associated with the Communist Party, the People’s Liberation Army, and the Chinese government generally. It broadly lists companies “under the ownership, or control, directly or indirectly, of the Government of the People’s Republic of China.” Under communism, privately owned companies do not in reality exist, though Communist Party members and cronies may nominally “own” a company.
The bill provides similar restrictions for entities tied to the government of Russia, and for “the government or any state-owned entity of any country if the Secretary of State determines that such government has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” The State Department currently lists only four countries as official state sponsors of terrorism, three of them explicitly communist or socialist: Cuba, Syria, and North Korea. The fourth, Iran, is an Islamist dictatorship with close ties to the communist leaders of Cuba and North Korea and Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party leader Bashar Assad, the dictator of Syria.
“My bill acts as a safeguard. The State Department handles diplomatic strategy, sensitive material, classified intelligence, and the data of millions of Americans through passports and visas,” Rep. Green said in introducing the bill on Wednesday. “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. The stakes are too high.”
Communist China is one of the world’s most formidable espionage powers, engaging in often brazen activities in the United States. Among the most egregious such operations was the discovery in February of a Chinese aircraft flying over Montana, later identified as an espionage balloon. While Beijing initially claimed the spy balloon was a weather vessel, American officials later told news outlets they believed the balloon had traveled over sensitive American military sites collecting information.
In a separate illicit covert activity operation, the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled criminal charges in April against Chinese regime-linked individuals for “repeatedly and flagrantly violat[ing] our nation’s sovereignty by opening and operating a police station in the middle of New York City.” The charges related to an illegal Chinese police station in New York followed the revelation in a report published by the NGO Safeguard Defenders in September 2022 that China was operating dozens of such stations in major cities around the world.