Campaign check: Perdue says Ossoff won’t hold China accountable

Georgia Senate Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff waves to the crowd at a rally outside of Grace Community Christian Church in Kennesaw, on Dec. 3, 2020.  (Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Georgia Senate Democrat candidate Jon Ossoff waves to the crowd at a rally outside of Grace Community Christian Church in Kennesaw, on Dec. 3, 2020. (Alyssa Pointer /

The statement:

“Jon @Ossoff did business with a company owned by the communist Chinese Government and then tried to hide it from Georgia voters. Georgians can’t trust him to hold China accountable.” Nov. 16 tweet by Sen. David Perdue.

What we found:

Republican Sen. David Perdue’s campaign website says his claim about China and Democrat Jon Ossoff stems from a Sept. 18 article in National Review, the conservative magazine founded by the late author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr.

The article focuses on payments Ossoff received for his work with Insight TWI, the London-based documentary and TV production company he leads. The article also highlights financial disclosure forms he filed with the U.S. Senate. In one form he filed May 15, Ossoff lists 21 TV and broadcast companies that each paid him more than $5,000 over the last two years. He amended that form on July 10 and listed 31 such companies, including PCCW Media Limited in Hong Kong, China.

Asked why PCCW was not included on the original form Ossoff filed, his campaign told it was “a paperwork oversight” that was “rectified” in the July amended filing after “a normal review of the campaign’s paperwork.”

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Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

National Review described PCCW as a media conglomerate whose owner [Richard Li] has spoken out against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.” In 2016, Li said he was “staunchly opposed to the independence of Hong Hong.”

PCCW is a publicly traded company. The Chinese state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council is PCCW’s second largest shareholder, according to Nikkei Asia.

An Ossoff campaign spokeswoman told National Review the payment from PCCW was for airing two investigations produced by Insight TWI about Islamic State militants’ war crimes against women and girls, representing “one of dozens of TV stations and distributors in more than 30 countries that have aired Jon’s work.”

“Jon strongly supports Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and condemns the brutality and authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party,” the Ossoff campaign told National Review.

Ossoff campaign spokeswoman Miryam Lipper told “PCCW does not = Chinese communists.” She added Insight TWI “conducts international investigations that have exposed corrupt officials, organized crime, and war criminals around the globe” and licenses its documentaries to TV stations and distributors throughout the world.

“In some instances, as is the case with PCCW,” Lipper told, “TWI even licenses the documentaries to distributors like Sky Vision who re-license them to TV stations. TWI would never have sold anything to PCCW directly, just received a royalty check from Sky Vision when PCCW ran TWI’s two investigations of ISIS war crimes.”

The claim continues to be talking point for Republicans seeking to tie Ossoff to Chinese communism. On Nov. 17, the Republican Senate Leadership Fund PAC released a 30-second campaign ad on YouTube that accuses Ossoff of “hiding cash from Chinese communists.” And in early December, Perdue’s campaign emailed supporters, accusing Ossoff of having “shady ties to the communist Chinese government.”

The Georgia GOP has targeted Ossoff with an ethics complaint, accusing him of “knowingly and willfully” failing to disclose the payments from PCCW. Ossoff’s campaign dismissed the complaint as “false and desperate,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“The campaign said Ossof’s company … received around $1,000 through a distributor for two investigations it made about Islamic State war crimes that were rebroadcast by PCCW in Hong Kong,” The AJC report said. “Though the payments were below the $5,000 reporting threshold, the campaign said the sums were disclosed in the interest of transparency.”

Lipper told The AJC: “David Perdue’s fever dream that Jon Ossoff is some kind of Chinese communist agent because a TV channel in Hong Kong once broadcast two of his company’s films exposing ISIS war crimes is one of the most laughable smear campaigns in Georgia history.”

“This is an utterly false and desperate complaint, which will go nowhere, lodged on behalf of a disgraced senator whose financial misconduct is world famous,” she added.

Meanwhile, Perdue has come under the microscope for his own connections to China. When he was CEO of the Dollar General chain, the Intercept reported in October, Perdue “expanded aggressively into China to import cheap products into the United States.”

“As CEO of Dollar General, which is an American Fortune 500 company, David Perdue created tens of thousands of American jobs, a claim that has been verified by independent fact checkers,” Perdue campaign spokesman John Burke told The Intercept without directly addressing the China outsourcing effort.

Alan Judd contributed to this report.

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