A former U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms – one of the most security-conscious roles in the U.S. government – is now lobbying for the Chinese Communist Party-owned company Hikvision, which has ties to the regime’s military, The National Pulse can reveal.
Hikvision is a state-owned manufacturer and supplier of video surveillance equipment that has been identified by the U.S. Department of Defense as a Chinese Communist Party military proxy. The state-owned company has been accused of supplying the Chinese Communist Party with the necessary technological infrastructure to carry out a genocide of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province.
Despite these concerning ties, Andrew “Drew” Willison, also a former Chief of Staff to ex-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, is lobbying on behalf of the company. In 2014, Willison was promoted by Reid to serve as the Senate Sergeant at Arms after a stint as the Deputy Sergeant at Arms.
As chief law enforcement officer of the Senate, the Sergeant at Arms is charged with maintaining security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings, as well as protection of the members themselves.
The Sergeant at Arms’ jobs “include escorting the president and other heads of state or official guests of the Senate who are attending official functions in the Capitol; making arrangements for funerals of senators who die in office; assisting in plans for the inauguration of the president and organizing the swearing-in and orientation programs for newly elected senators. The Sergeant at Arms leads the senators from the Senate to the House Chamber for joint sessions of Congress, to the presidential inaugural platform, or wherever the Senate may go as a body. As executive officer, the Sergeant at Arms has custody of the Senate gavel.”
When taking the job in 2014, Willison commented: “It’s a very unique place up here. We’re working in a national legislative office building, a tourist attraction and a museum all wrapped up in one. There’s always going to be a balance between security and the desire in a democracy for openness. We try to strike the right balance.”
The U.S. Senate website explains:
As chief law enforcement officer of the Senate, the Sergeant at Arms is charged with maintaining security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings, as well as protection of the members themselves. The Sergeant at Arms serves as the executive officer of the Senate for enforcement of all rules of the Committee on Rules and Administration regulating the Senate wing of the Capitol and the Senate office buildings and has responsibility for and immediate supervision of the Senate floor, Chamber, and galleries.
The Office of the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) is the largest in size of staff and budget in the Senate. It is responsible for all Senate computers and technology support services, recording and photographic services, printing and graphics services, and telecommunications services. The SAA also provides assistance to all Senate offices with their staffing, mailing, purchasing, and financial needs. The offices of the SAA that are responsible for providing these and other services include Capitol Facilities, the Operations Division, Customer Relations, Financial Operations, Human Resources, and Information Security. The SAA also shares responsibility for the U.S. Capitol Police, the Senate Page Program, the Senate Office of Training and Development, and the Capitol Telephone Exchange.
Drew Willison’s key role in protecting America’s top elected officials is also at odds with fears over the data recorded by Hikvision’s surveillance equipment ending up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. The company has also seen its products banned from being used or sold in the U.S. due to policies from the Trump administration that were later cemented by the Senate.
Willison appears to be lobbying on issues including “prohibitions on certain video surveillance equipment in the National Defense Authorization Act and other potential legislation,” according to his official registration, which was filed in May 15th. For roughly one month of work, Hikvision paid Willison and his firm $110,000.
He is the latest example of a federal government employee ending up on the payroll of the Chinese Communist Party, helping the regime deepen its entrenchment within the U.S. In addition to the regime weaponizing companies like Hikvision, the Chinese Communist Party also operates a vast network of influence groups targeting foreign government, media, and corporate leaders.