- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Rep. Eric Swalwell’s interaction with an alleged Chinese spy has become a political football endangering his standing with fellow lawmakers and potentially imperiling his future political aspirations.

The California Democrat is on defense and questioning whether the news of his connection to the alleged spy is a political hit job, while the House’s top Republican has questioned whether Mr. Swalwell ought to be booted from Congress.

Suspected Chinese spy Christine Fang, aka Fang Fang, raised funds for Mr. Swalwell’s 2014 reelection and helped place an intern in his office, according to Axios. As a House Intelligence Committee member, Mr. Swalwell’s proximity to the alleged spy raised eyebrows across Washington.

Details of Mr. Swalwell’s connection to Ms. Fang are difficult to come by. The congressman’s office has said Mr. Swalwell has not seen her in six years and that he provided information on Ms. Fang to the FBI. Mr. Swalwell has also cast himself as the victim of a political smear leveraging the revelation of his interaction with Ms. Fang.

“I’ve been a critic of the president, I’ve spoken out against him, I was on both committees that worked to impeach him,” Mr. Swalwell told Politico. “The timing feels like that should be looked at.”

Mr. Swalwell said congressional leadership knew of his connection to Ms. Fang, so he said the new revelation would not cost him his coveted gig on the intelligence committee.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, however, thinks the public revelations of Mr. Swalwell’s snafu with the suspected Chinese spy might cost him his lawmaking career.

“Why is he still on the intel [committee] let alone why is he still a member of Congress?” the California Republican asked on Fox News. “Remember what the intel committee gets: information that no other members are able to see and remember what this member did. He was so preoccupied going after this president, he wasn’t protecting our country from bad actors.”

The federal government has not publicly prosecuted Ms. Fang for any wrongdoing and the suspected spy is not believed to have accessed any classified material, according to Axios.

Ms. Fang displayed an interest in political intelligence and the behavioral profiles of government officials, according to reports. In public criminal prosecutions brought by the Justice Department and comments from federal officials, the federal government has documented China’s efforts aimed at economic espionage against the United States and the communist nation’s efforts to influence public policy.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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