Several executives from Nike donated around $60,000 to the re-election campaign of Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). The total donation happened over the course of 16 days in September.
Coincidentally, Wyden blocked the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act last Wednesday. Eventually, the bill passed the Senate, which will then head to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature.
Senator Ron Wyden Opposed Uyghur Bill
On Wednesday evening Wyden blocked the passage of the bipartisan effort to hold China accountable for genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
He sought an amendment to extend for a year the child tax credit program expiring on January 1. He said that this is the condition to secure unanimous consent legislation on the Uyghur bill.
However, the principal author of the bill, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) objected to Senator Ron Wyden’s call. to attach the amendment to his call for unanimous consent.
He didn’t want any unrelated conditions to accompany his bill. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act aims to help curb slave labor.
It prohibits imports from China’s Xinjiang province unless manufacturers prove that their end products did not benefit from slave labor. Despite Senator Ron Wyden’s efforts, the Senate passed the bill overwhelmingly.
Nike Lobbied Against The Bill
Nike, a major Wyden supporter of Wyden, has its corporate headquarters in Oregon. It is one of several major companies that lobbied against Rubio’s bill.
According to the New York Times, a March 2020 report said that Nike is one of several labels suspected of benefiting from slave labor.
The company either directly employed forced labor or sourced materials from companies using forced labor in Xinjiang. The report is a result of efforts by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC).
Meanwhile, Nike executives continued their support for Senator Ron Wyden‘s re-election bid.
Between September 15 to 30, 10 Nike executives including CEO John Donahoe and Executive Chairman Mark Parker donated to Wyden’s campaign. According to federal elections campaign data, both made two $2,900 donations.
In addition, Scott Uzzell, the CEO of Nike subsidiary Converse, gave a single donation of $2,900. In total, Nike executives gave $60,900 to Wyden’s campaign in just two weeks.
US Determined That China Is Committing Genocide Against Uyghur Muslims
Earlier, the US determined that China is carrying out genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Human rights officials said that slave labor is part of the string of human rights abuses committed by China against the Muslim minority in the province.
Meanwhile, Senator Ron Wyden insisted on his proposal to shoehorn child tax credits with the Uyghur bill. He said that the two distinct issues were not mutually exclusive. He said Rubio’s objection stood in the way of two bold steps.
“There was another way we could have stood with the effort to deal with genocide and forced labor and protect families, they weren’t mutually exclusive, we could have done both,” Wyden argued forcefully on the Senate floor. “I think it’s unfortunate the Senate’s not doing it.”
Watch the Bloomberg Quicktake: Now video reporting that the US Senate passes bill aimed at China over Uyghur treatment
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