Senator Vitter Becomes "Proud Member Of The Hikvision Team", Calls Out "Anti-China" Rubio

By: John Honovich, Published on Oct 29, 2019

Senator turned China lobbyist David Vitter has become a self-proclaimed 'proud member of the Hikvision team', a China (PRC) government-owned company banned and sanctioned by the USA.

IPVM obtained an audio recording of a Hikvision USA employee conference call where Senator Vitter declares his 'team', implores the team that Hikvision will survive in the USA and calls out Senator Rubio as 'anti-China'.

Background

David Vitter is a longtime Louisiana Republican politician, having served as a US Senator from 2005-2017, US Representative from 1999-2005, and State Rep from 1992-1995. He is now a lobbyist with Mercury Public Affairs.

Team Hikvision

On a conference call after the US government sanctioned Hikvision, Senator Vitter declared his team:

Certainly Jeffrey. And I'm happy to join this conversation as a proud member of the Hikvision team and thank you for all your leadership of all of our team. I'm Senator David Vitter, I served in the US Senate for two terms, 12 years. And prior to that, I served in the US House of Representatives. [emphasis added]

Team Libya and Zimbabwe

Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News
Get Notified of Video Surveillance Breaking News

Senator Vitter is also lobbying for Libya and Zimbabwe, as this September 2019 US federal filing shows:

These 2 countries have a long record of human rights abuses and have been recently sanctioned:

Senator Vitter, though, has built a practice around defending such organizations:

Make Sure Hikvision USA Survives

Senator Vitter says that his goal has been to ensure Hikvision's US survival:

From the beginning, all of our collective goal in this very negative, anti-China trade war environment has really been to make sure Hikvision survived in the United States. [emphasis added]

The 'Entity List' sanctions passed last week were not the most serious ones possible. Had Magnitsky sanctions been imposed, as some politicians floated last year, Hikvision would have been banned from transacting with any US entity and its US assets frozen. This would have shut down Hikvision USA. Vitter continued on the call:

our collective goal under Jeffrey's leadership, given these assaults, and given the very negative anti-Chinese and trade war atmosphere was to make sure Hikvision could survive in the US. Certainly, this action designation on the entity list that was announced yesterday is not good news, absolutely not. However, we are surviving in the US, and I feel very good about Hikvision continuing to survive in the US [emphasis added]

Even without Magnitsky sanctions, Hikvision's USA revenue has been declining for more than a year with the company expecting further customer losses in the current Q4 2019 after the sanctions were imposed.

$3 Million Lobbying Expenses

Hikvision is spending significantly to oppose both the US government ban and sanctions with at least $3 million in lobbying spent since 2018:

  • $1.2m on Mercury (Vitter's organization) alone. Hikvision hired Mercury in August 2018 on a minimum rate of $70,000 per month but has gone well above that, spending ~$110,000 per month for one six month period.
  • Over $2m on two other firms, Sidley Austin and the Glover Park Group. In August, Reuters estimated that Hikvision spent $1.63m on the two firms (based on government filings.) That was before Hikvision disclosed spending another $500,000 on Sidley in Q3 2019. Sidley Austin tasked another politician, former US Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA), with Hikvision.
  • $25,000 monthly minimum for six months in 2018 to another firm, Burson Marsteller. After a merger that year this firm became Burson Cohn & Wolfe; BCW remains a Hikvision client, and Hikvision spent $185,511 on them in 2019, it disclosed in August. BCW was on the same Hikvision employee call.

Not included in these expenses is Hikvision hiring DC lobbying firm Arent Fox to review its Xinjiang human rights issues. This spending is not disclosed in government reports since their actions here, for now, are not technically lobbying.

Other expenses not included are the various in-house Hikvision PR positions focused on this campaign including:

Rubio Criticism

Senator Vitter also took aim at Senator Marco Rubio on the Hikvision call for being "one of the loudest anti-China voices":

Senator Rubio, he has decked out a very clear position, which is really contrary to everything we're trying to defend. We have not engaged with them, because we think doing that would be fruitless, and probably counter-productive, it would only give him more information and more ammunition for him to pursue what is the very clear, anti-China and anti-Hikvision agenda.

Winning Vitter

Ethics aside, Vitter is winning here. Vitter's pro-Hikvision, pro-Libya, pro-Zimbabwe efforts will earn him millions, regardless of what happens to those entities.

Long Shot For Hikvision

For Hikvision, winning is possible but difficult. Given the evidence of Hikvision's Xinjiang direct involvement, increased authoritarianism in the PRC under Xi Jinping and strengthening US opposition, Hikvision may not be successful in getting the US government to overturn the ban or sanctions just for them.

However, if it did achieve this while its arch-rival Dahua remained banned and sanctioned, it would be a powerful win for Hikvision, clearly justifying the millions spent.

But Shows Hikvision Power

Even though the odds are against Hikvision here, it does show Hikvision's virtually limitless ability to spend and the strength of the PRC government-owned Hikvision to get a US Senator as a proud member of their team, even if he is also on Libya and Zimbabwe's.

3 reports cite this report:

Hikvision AI Training In Xinjiang Paramilitary Base, Now Denies on Mar 10, 2020
Hikvision has been listing AI training in a Xinjiang paramilitary base that...
"Hikvision Football Arena" Lithuania Causes Controversy on Jan 24, 2020
Controversy has arisen in Lithuania over Hikvision becoming a soccer team's...
The 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide on Dec 20, 2019
The 300-page, 2020 Video Surveillance Industry Guide covers the key events...
Comments (40) : Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Hikvision Global News Reports Directory on Aug 13, 2020
Hikvision has received the most global news reporting of any video...
White House Trade Advisor Calls Hikvision "Very Evil Company" on Jun 24, 2020
White House trade advisor Peter Navarro has called Hikvision a "very evil...
Hikvision Salespeople: We Don't Need A Blackbody on May 13, 2020
Dahua jumped out on its cross-town rival selling fever cameras but Hikvision...
LSP Presents 2nd Generation FP Power Supplies on Apr 29, 2020
Life Safety Power (LSP) presented its FP2 power supply in the April 2020 IPVM...
Vape Detection Legal Battle: Soter Sues IPVideo Corp on Jul 22, 2020
The crosstown vape detection rivals are now in a legal battle. While IPVideo...
Colombia's President Promotes Bad Hikvision Fever Camera Setup on Jun 17, 2020
Colombia's President Iván Duque has promoted a haphazard Hikvision fever...
Hikvision Fever Screening Thermal Solutions Examined on Apr 13, 2020
Hikvision is marketing "safer, faster, smarter" with their Fever Screening...
Hikvision Illicitly Uses Back To The Future In Marketing on Jul 03, 2020
NBCUniversal told IPVM that Hikvision UK's ongoing coronavirus marketing...
Hikvision USA Refuses [Now In], Dahua USA Drives Forward With "Coronavirus Cameras" on Apr 07, 2020
Both have been federally banned, both sanctioned for human rights abuses but...
"Beyond Reprehensible" Email Leads To Boycott of CPI Security on Jun 10, 2020
One of the largest US security integrators, CPI Security, with $100+ million...
US Jail Uses China State Owned Fever Camera on Apr 30, 2020
Police in Ohio are boasting about their jail's new fever camera system, which...
Sunell Panda Cam Body Temperature Measurement Camera Tested on May 14, 2020
Sunell is far less well known than its gargantuan domestic competitors Dahua...
Sunell is The First China Manufacturer to Market NDAA Compliance on Jul 30, 2020
Most China manufacturers are going to be impacted by the NDAA 'Blacklist...
IPVM Editorial Staff on Aug 01, 2020
IPVM has the largest and most experienced editorial team covering video...
Thermology Expert: "95-99%" Doing Fever Screening Wrong, Unjustified Compensating Algorithms "Insane" on Aug 27, 2020
A thermology expert tells IPVM "95 to 99% of people" are doing fever...

Recent Reports

Virtual ISC West and GSX+ Exhibiting Contrasted on Sep 17, 2020
Both ISC West and ASIS GSX are going virtual this year, just weeks apart, but...
X.Labs Sues FLIR on Sep 16, 2020
X.Labs, the maker of Feevr, has sued FLIR, the publicly traded thermal...
Video Surveillance 101 September Course - Last Chance on Sep 16, 2020
Today is the last chance to sign up for the Fall Video Surveillance 101...
No Blackbody Mistake, Half Million Dollar, Hikvision Fever Camera System in Georgia on Sep 16, 2020
A Georgia school district touted buying Hikvision fever screening "about...
Costar Technologies / Arecont H1 2020 Financials Examined on Sep 16, 2020
Costar's financial results have been hit by the coronavirus with the company...
Startup Cawamo Presents Live Alerts With Edge AI and Cloud VMS on Sep 15, 2020
Cawamo, an Israeli edge-to-cloud analytics and VMS startup, presented its...
Favorite Access Control Credentials 2020 on Sep 15, 2020
Credential choice is more debated than ever, with hacking risk for 125kHz and...
Dangerous Hikvision Fever Screening Marketing In Africa on Sep 15, 2020
A multi-national African Hikvision distributor is marketing dangerously...
New Products Show Fall 2020 Announced - Register Now on Sep 14, 2020
IPVM's sixth online show will feature New Products from over 25...
Hanwha 8K / 33MP Camera Tested on Sep 14, 2020
Hanwha Techwin has released an 8K / 33MP resolution camera, the TNB-9000 with...
Gait Recognition Examined on Sep 14, 2020
Facial recognition faces increasing ethical and political criticisms while...
Comparing 2020 Reality To 2010 Expectations on Sep 11, 2020
What can we learn from where the industry was in 2010 and what was believed...
China Dali Fever Cameras and Booming Sales Examined on Sep 11, 2020
Zhejiang Dali, one of China's original thermal technology developers, has...
Risks Of Managing End User Passwords (Statistics) 2020 on Sep 11, 2020
Alarmingly, most integrators used spreadsheets to manage passwords, IPVM...
Dedicated Vs Converged IP Video Networks Statistics 2020 on Sep 10, 2020
Running one's video system on a converged network with other devices can save...