By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Alex Lasry picked a bad time to roll out a campaign ad insisting he’d “stand up to China.”
The Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and son of the billionaire owner of the Milwaukee Bucks launched his ad on Tuesday, the same day Empower Wisconsin reported that Lasry’s campaign had pocketed a generous check from Chamath Palihapitiya. Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist who owns a minority share in the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, has taken a lot of heat — from just about everywhere but communist China — after saying nobody cares about the Uyghurs, the ethnic Muslim minority persecuted in China.
“Let’s be honest, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,” Palihapitiya told his weekly podcast’s co-host. “You bring it up because you really care, and I think that’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care.
“I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, it is below my line.”
“I care about [empty shelves at grocery stores]. Palihapitiya added. “I care about climate change. I care about America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure.”
Empower Wisconsin earlier this week attempted to ask Lasry how he felt about his campaign contributor’s comments. The candidate refused to comment. But later Lasry’s campaign said it was returning the $2,900 donation, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Democratic Party of Wisconsin, also said it would part with Palihapitiya’s cash, asserting it would donate $10,000 to a charity supporting Uyghurs.
Devin Remiker, interim head of the Dem Party of Wisconsin, said the donation was in keeping with the party’s “commitment to democracy and human rights at home and abroad.”
Lasry campaign spokesman Thad Nation told the newspaper that the liberal multimillionaire strongly disagrees with his benefactor’s comments.
In his campaign ad, Lasry — one of a multitude of liberals scurrying for the Dem nomination to take on Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson — insists he would “get things done.” He says he’s all about “raising people’s wages, make things in America, finally stand up to China.”
That “finally” is an important qualifier. Lasry certainly hasn’t shown much of standing up to China thus far.
As Empower Wisconsin first reported, Lasry and his wealthy family have been all-in on China for a long time. The NBA and their teams, including the Milwaukee Bucks, have been kissing communist China’s ass for years to keep the money spigot turned on — human rights be damned.
The Senate candidate has been richly engaged in Chinanomics. Lasry, at least up until recently, held $50,001 to $100,000 in Alibaba stock, and as much as $100,000 in Tencent stock, according to U.S. Senate financial disclosures.
Lasry’s campaign told the Journal Sentinel that in “recent months” Lasry sold corporate securities he held in Chinese-owned firms, Alibaba and Tenecent. The stock was still listed in his last financial disclosure report.
Alibaba Group developed the Chinese propaganda app, “’Xuexi Qiangguo, and has a “deep record” of collaborating with the State Security Bureaucracy. Alibaba is the biggest e-commerce company in the world, while Tencent operates the popular WeChat messaging service. They’re also accused of being tools for China’s central state.
“’Xuexi Qiangguo,’ which literally translates as ‘Study to make China strong’ and is a play on the government propaganda theme of applying President Xi Jinping’s thoughts, overtook Tik Tok’s Chinese version Douyin and WeChat to become the county’s most popular app on Apple’s China app store…,” Reuters reported in 2019.
Lasry’s billionaire daddy, Marc Lasry, has been a giddy cheerleader for investing in China.
“Economically, for us, that’s actually great,” the hedge fund manager and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks told Forbes in May. The elder Lasry’s Avenue Capital Group boasted $11.8 billion in assets under management as of August, about $1.8 billion of that in China.
So Alex Lasry is finally “stand(ing) up to China,” at least in his campaign ads.