US ZTE Republican lobbyist quits

Jon Christensen, a former Nebraska Republican, has found out the hard way that this lobbying lark was not the easy money he thought it was.

Christensen took a job telling his mates in the Senate that the Chinese telecoms company ZTE was wonderful and that they could trust it, even if it did allegedly have links to the Chinese military.

Now it seems that Christensen has woken up and smelt the coffee after the news that the FBI was looking into ZTE for selling banned computer gear to Iran.

Christensen might have been a little upset that the company appears to have sold a nice new surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile and internet communications to the Iran.

According to Reuters, a lobbying disclosure report to the US Senate’s database said he stopped representing the company as of 13 July, a day after news broke of the FBI investigation.

This means that he might not have been around when the company’s general counsel in Texas, Ashley Kyle Yablon, told FBI agents that ZTE officials had discussed shredding documents relevant to a subpoena.

Yablon tod the Feds that ZTE was using “sub companies” to buy sophisticated US telecommunications equipment to get around restrictions on selling to countries like Iran.

This was not actually ZTE gear, but technology it had bought in the Land of the Fee. While ZTE is known for its cheap and cheerful smartphones it has a subsidiary specialising in surveillance and security technology.