Immediately after being elected House speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy vowed to hold Beijing accountable. “We will create a bipartisan select committee on China to investigate how to bring back the hundreds of thousands of jobs that went to China, and then we will win this economic competition,” the California Republican said early Saturday morning after a dramatic 15-vote series that elected him to lead the GOP majority in the lower chamber.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives made good on McCarthy’s promise, voting 365 to 65 to establish the House Select Committee on China, which will be chaired by foreign policy hawk Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. “Here’s the good news: There is bipartisan consensus that the era of trusting Communist China is over,” gloated McCarthy from the House floor.
McCarthy and Gallagher wrote an op-ed for Fox News last month declaring “a new cold war” between China and the United States. “Our goal will be to promote overwhelming economic superiority,” wrote the GOP duo, “by developing policies to prohibit state and local pension funds—the same entities evangelizing for environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments—from investing in China.”
That could spell trouble for McCarthy’s chief of staff Daniel P. Meyer, who owns somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of shares in Alibaba Group Holdings Limited — one of the largest companies in China, with close ties to the Chinese government. Before joining McCarthy’s office, Meyer was president of the Duberstein Group, a firm that earned millions lobbying on behalf of Alibaba in the U.S.
Meyer’s Alibaba investment is the largest by far of the 132 entries listed under assets and “unearned income,” according to his 2021 financial disclosure statement — the most recent available — obtained by The Intercept from the House Office of the Clerk.
In 2021, Alibaba spent over $3 million to hire 34 lobbyists to push the company’s agenda on trade, telecommunications, copyright, and other areas, according to Open Secrets. Duberstein Group collected the largest fees by far from Alibaba.
Meyer worked as a lobbyist for Alibaba during his time as a top executive at Duberstein in the decade before joining McCarthy’s team. Between 2011 and 2021, Duberstein Group collected $3.7 million in lobbying fees from Alibaba, with Meyer listed as the registered lobbyist for the Chinese multinational company from 2012 to 2019.
A 2018 report by Lee Fang and Nick Surgey for The Intercept found that Alibaba had joined the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a controversial group that ghostwrites legislation for corporations and other special interest groups.
“We are probably the world’s largest e-commerce company you have never heard about. We have business-to-business marketplace solutions. We have VC marketplace solutions. And we have over 500 million active buyers on our marketplaces,” said Alibaba lobbyist Bill Anaya at an ALEC summit in Nashville in 2017.
Meyer is a former senior aide to ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich and also served as a legislative aide to President George W. Bush. “Dan Meyer played a key role in developing the Contract with America [a set of 10 bills undermining the social safety net and cutting government spending in 1994] and in helping lead the House Republicans out of 40 years in the minority wilderness. He went on to be a superb legislative liaison for President George W. Bush,” Gingrich told Politico when Meyer joined McCarthy’s staff in 2019.
Neither Meyer nor McCarthy’s office replied to email requests from The Intercept for comment on his significant Alibaba investment.