House GOP Urges DOJ Probe into Lobbying Scheme by Chinese Drone Company

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We write to urge you to examine the lobbying activities of the Drone Advocacy Alliance on behalf of a Chinese Military Company and undertake Foreign Agents Registration Act enforcement action as warranted. The Drone Advocacy Alliance promotes the interests of Shenzhen DJI Innovation Technology Co., Ltd. (DJI); is funded by DJI Technology Inc.; and is actively obscuring the drone company’s ties to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and its ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in efforts to influence Congress and the American public.

FARA requires individuals in the United States who are acting as agents of foreign principals and engaged in political activities on behalf of foreign entities to register as a foreign agent with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and regularly disclose their relationships and activities on behalf of the foreign entity.1 FARA is intended to protect U.S. national security by requiring enhanced transparency into certain activities of organizations operating in the U.S. on behalf of foreign entities, including lobbying to influence U.S. policy.

CCP-controlled drone company DJI is sponsoring and using the Drone Advocacy Alliance to market DJI drones as critical lifesaving tools that do not pose risks to U.S. national security. However, the opposite is the case. DJI is directly facilitating genocidal crimes, arming the Chinese military, and advancing the strategic objectives of the CCP, an adversary that threatens U.S. national security. The Drone Advocacy Alliance is facilitating a CCP-led disinformation and propaganda campaign targeting Americans – activity that meets the threshold of political activities as defined under FARA statute and regulations.

According to its website, “the Drone Advocacy Alliance is sponsored, and its website maintained by DJI Technology, Inc.” A recent New York Times article confirmed that DJI has “funded a website called Drone Advocacy Alliance” that is aimed at raising awareness about legislation

The Drone Advocacy Alliance claims that it does not endorse one specific drone manufacturer. However, due to unfair trade practices and massive subsidization, DJI has monopolized the world’s drone market, and all of its lobbying efforts are aimed at maintaining that unfair advantage.

CCP-controlled drones present an unacceptable national security risk which has been confirmed by the U.S. government multiple times in the last seven years. In 2017, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement bulletin stated that DJI “is providing U.S. critical infrastructure and law enforcement data to the Chinese government,” and that DJI drones were being used to “collect on U.S. critical assets.” These facts have been reconfirmed numerous times. In January 2024, CISA and the FBI released a cybersecurity bulletin which states that PRC-manufactured drones “continue to pose a significant risk to critical infrastructure and U.S. national security” due to potential vulnerabilities in drones combined with PRC laws that provide the CCP “with expanded legal grounds for accessing and controlling data held by firms in China.”

Between 2017 and today, the U.S. government has consistently maintained that operating PRC- manufactured drones in the U.S. can expose sensitive information to the CCP.

DJI also directly advances the capabilities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). In 2022 the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) identified DJI as a Chinese Military Company due to DJI’s direct support for the modernization of the PLA. And despite significant lobbying efforts1o, DJI was relisted as a Chinese Military Company by the DoD in January 2024.119

Not only does DJI directly equip the military of our greatest strategic adversary, improving the capabilities which could one day be used against U.S. service members, they also actively aid the CCP in carrying out genocidal crimes against Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In 2021, the U.S. Department of the Treasury placed sanctions on DJI and added it to the Chinese Military-Industrial Complex list because of DJI’s role in “the biometric surveillance and tracking of ethnic and religious minorities in China, particularly the predominantly Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang.
systematically perpetrate crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities.

Americans deserve heightened transparency when entities are lobbying Congress and the public in a campaign to prop up a CCP spy tool that facilitates genocide and arms the PLA. As such, we urge your department to review the Drone Advocacy Alliance’s activities for potential FARA filing requirements. To the extent that any FARA exemptions are being applied to the Drone Advocacy Alliance’s activities, please provide our staff with a briefing on the Department’s related analysis.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and we look forward to your response.

Elise M. Stefanik
Member of Congress

John Mooleran
John Moolenaar Chairman
Select Committee on the CCP

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