Jon Ossoff

Jon Ossoff

Overview

* Was elected to the U.S. Senate (representing Georgia) in a 2021 special election
* Has multiple connections to the Chinese Communist Party


Background

Thomas Jonathan “Jon” Ossoff was born on February 16, 1987 in Atlanta, Georgia, and was raised in the Atlanta area. His father, Richard Ossoff, is the enormously wealthy owner of Strafford Publications and has frequently provided his son with major financial support – e.g., he made more than $17,000 in contributions to the son’s political campaigns from 2017-2020. Jon Ossoff’s mother, Heather Fenton Ossoff, is an immigrant from Australia who in 2013 co-founded NewPowerPAC, an organization dedicated to promoting the increased representation of women in elected and appointed political positions.

Jon Ossoff graduated in 2005 from the Paideia School in Atlanta, a top-ranked pre-K-to-12 private school. As a high-school student in 2004, he served as an intern for then-Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, whom Ossoff credits for having inspired him to pursue social activism and a career in politics. In 2006, Rep. Lewis recommended Ossoff for a job as a staffer and legislative assistant in the Decatur, Georgia office of Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, where Ossoff went on to work from 2007-2012. During that five-year period, Ossoff’s father footed the bill for his son’s major living expenses in Washington, D.C.

Jon Ossoff earned a B.S. degree from the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2009, and an M.S. degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2013.

Ties to Al-Jazeera

From 2013-2021, Ossoff was the CEO of Insight TWI (The World Investigates), a United Kingdom-based producer of documentaries about governmental corruption around the globe. Between 2013 and 2020, Insight TWI produced at least 10 films for the Qatar-based, pro-Islamist news network Al Jazeera and its sister company, Al Jazeera English.

Failed Campaign for U.S. House (2017)

Ossoff Lies about His Previous Security-Clearance Status

In 2017, Ossoff, a Democrat, was a candidate in a special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In an effort to bolster his perceived political credentials, Ossoff spent several months falsely claiming that he had held top-secret national security clearance throughout the five years during which he had worked for Rep. Hank Johnson (2007-2012). But eventually, in March 2017, Ossoff admitted that he had only held such clearance during his final five months as a Johnson staffer.

Ossoff’s Leftwing Supporters

Among the supporters and endorsers of Ossoff’s congressional campaign were such notables as Bernie Sanders, Stacey Abrams, Cory Booker, and Nancy Pelosi. Organizational backers of his campaign included the Daily Kos, MoveOn, Our Revolution, and the Young Democratic Socialists (the youth and student section of the Democratic Socialists of America).

Lost Election

As the official Democratic nominee for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District seat, Ossoff ultimately lost to Republican Karen Handel in a runoff election by a margin of 48% to 52%. The Ossoff-Handel race was the most expensive U.S. House election ever held up to that time, as total campaign spending surpassed $50 million — including more than $23 million raised by the Ossoff team. Ossoff received tremendous financial support from out-of-state donors, particularly those based in California and the San Francisco Bay area.

Campaign for U.S. Senate (2019-2020)

In 2019, Ossoff announced his intent to once again run for political office, this time for a Georgia seat in the U.S. Senate. He won the party nomination in June 2020 when he defeated six other Democrats in a primary where he received 52.8% of the nearly 1.2 million ballots cast.

Ossoff’s Senate Campaign Platform

Hoping to build upon the Democrats’ recent momentum in making political inroads in Georgia, Ossoff ran on an ardent leftwing platform as the general election of 2020 approached. Some highlights, excerpted directly from his official campaign website:

  • The Economy: “Rather than relying on subsidies for Wall Street as economic stimulus and hoping the benefits trickle down, I’ll support policies that help Georgia’s families make and save more money: fast and generous direct emergency relief during economic crises, lower taxes for all but the wealthiest Americans, debt-free public college, free vocational training, and health care guaranteed at an affordable price. To create millions of jobs, revitalize our economy, and alleviate poverty, I’ll support the most ambitious infrastructure program in history.”
  • Health Care: “I’ll vote to protect and strengthen Medicare, and I support offering all Americans a public health insurance option as an affordable alternative to private insurance. […] For those with private insurance, I’ll vote to strengthen the Affordable Care Act’s protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, women, and young people. Those protections remain under attack by the health insurance industry and their allies in the GOP.”
  • The Environment: “We face an urgent environmental crisis as out-of-control pollution is fast changing the climate, destroying ecosystems, killing off species, and damaging human health. The scientific consensus is unambiguous: if pollution from fossil fuel combustion is not controlled, the consequences will be dire. We can meet our energy needs without destroying the environment — but only by rapidly transitioning to clean energy sources, dramatically reducing carbon emissions, and increasing energy efficiency. […] I’ll push for America to immediately re-enter the Paris Climate Accords — and then to lead negotiation of an even more ambitious climate treaty.”
  • Criminal Justice Reform: “[I]n the United States today, deep race and class disparities persist in policing, prosecution, and sentencing. Racial profiling, arbitrary detention, brutality, and abuse in detention and incarceration are widespread. We incarcerate tens of thousands guilty of non-violent, victimless crimes, destroying lives and incurring massive costs. […] [B]rutal and inhumane conditions prevail in our prisons and jails. Mandatory minimum sentencing, the drug war, and the misguided use of criminal enforcement as a response to addiction, mental illness, and poverty have contributed to mass incarceration that is a blight on our country. […] Race and class disparities in policing, prosecution, and sentencing must be ended nationwide. […] I will work to reverse the militarization of local police forces, enhance due process and human rights protections for all citizens, ban private prisons, end cash bail, reform prisons and raise conditions of incarceration to humane standards, abolish the death penalty, legalize cannabis, and end incarceration for nonviolent drug offenses.”
  • Roe v. Wade: “I am pro-choice. I believe that women, not the government, should control the private, personal, and complex decision whether to terminate a pregnancy. […] In the Senate, I will only vote to confirm federal judges who pledge to uphold Roe v. Wade.”
  • Gun Safety Reforms: “I support universal criminal history checks for gun purchases, red flag laws to protect family members and domestic partners concerned about the mental health of their loved ones, and closing the gun show loophole. I support a ban on the sale of semi-automatic rifles (‘assault weapons’) and high-capacity magazines to the general public.”
  • COVID-19: “To contain this outbreak and prevent an economic depression, the Trump Administration’s gross incompetence must end. It didn’t have to be this way. The White House ignored the warnings and dismissed the threat.”
  • Education: “To improve the quality of primary and secondary education, I support increasing teacher pay and breaking the link between a community’s wealth and the funding available for its public schools. […] I’ll work to make four-year degrees at our public colleges 100% debt-free. […] I support a generous forgiveness program for those struggling to pay off their student loans, caps on interest rates to relieve financial stress for all borrowers, and a program that links Federal student loan payments to income so paying off student loans is never a financial hardship.”
  • Immigration: “Ripping children from their parents and disappearing them into federal custody is an atrocity. I’ll support an immigration policy that strengthens our borders, puts American workers first, respects human rights, and creates a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants who are already here and otherwise follow the law, especially those brought here as children. We must reform the horrifically dysfunctional Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that these agencies carry out their duties with competence and humanity. And instead of making life hell for migrants, immigration enforcement should crack down on the employers of undocumented immigrants, like The Trump Organization.”
  • LGBTQ Equality: “I will defend marriage equality and the right of gay couples to adopt children. I will support the Equality Act and vote to expand Federal anti-discrimination statutes to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender or sexual orientation.”

Revelations about Ossoff’s Connections to the Chinese Communist Party

During the 2020 campaign cycle, stories emerged regarding Ossoff’s multiple connections to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). For example:

  • In 2012, Ossoff used his Twitter account to endorse the validity of the CCP-controlled media group called Xinhua News Agency, which has repeatedly denied reports of China’s human-rights violations against the Uyghur people, and has denounced the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
  • In 2013, Ossoff shared a post praising the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s “current spirit of antiextravagance” and its emphasis on “frugality.”
  • In 2020, it was reported that Ossoff had received at least $5,000 from PCCW Media Limited, an organization led by Richard Li, an outspoken opponent of Hong Kong’s independence from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese government.
  • It was also reported in 2020 that Ossoff’s multi-millionaire father had previously met with “many Chinese dignitaries” during a tour of a yacht which he purchased from a China-based and CCP-linked company.
  • In July 2020, it was revealed that during the previous two years, Al Jazeera had paid Ossoff at least $5,000 for his aforementioned work as the CEO of Insight TWI (The World Investigates).

U.S. Senate General Election & Runoff Election (2020-2021)

The November 2020 General Election

In the November 2020 general election for U.S. Senate in Georgia, incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue finished ahead of Ossoff by the slim margin of 49.7% to 47.9%. But because neither of the candidates had secured the 50-percent-or-more majority of the vote which was required in order to be declared the winner, they were forced to face one another again in a January 2021 runoff election which would have enormous ramifications vis-a-vis the balance of power in the U.S. Senate. If both Ossoff and fellow Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Raphael Warnock were to win their respective runoff elections, the United States Senate would be evenly divided with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. This would leave Democrat Vice President Kamala Harris to serve, as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution, as the tie-breaking vote – thereby increasing the likelihood that Democrats would be able to advance their legislative agendas and approve President Joe Biden’s various nominations.

Massive Donations from Out-of-State

As was the case with his 2017 U.S. House bid, Ossoff again received record-breaking donation totals, During the two-month period between the November 2020 general election and the January 2021 runoff elections for U.S. Senate in Georgia, the Ossoff and Warnock campaigns each secured a staggering $100 million in contributions – 95% of which came from out-of-state sources. Ossoff’s campaign, for instance, collected $14.7 million from California donors and an additional $6 million from New York contributors, as compared to just $2.5 million from residents of Georgia.

Support from Radical Islamists

In December 2020, anti-Israel radicals Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Linda Sarsour held a virtual “vote-a-thon” hosted by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Georgia Muslim Voter Project in order to support the campaigns of Ossoff and Warnock. Former President Barack Obama and musical artist John Legend also appeared in a campaign ad on Ossoff’s behalf.

Claiming That His Jewish Heritage Gave Him “a Conviction to Fight for the Marginalized and Oppressed”

During a December 2020 campaign rally, Ossoff told a group of supporters that he credited his Jewish upbringing for instilling him with “a conviction to fight for the marginalized and oppressed, and also to be vigilant where there’s the risk that authoritarianism may emerge.” Notably, Ossoff’s pride in his Jewish heritage had not prevented him from working from 2007-2012 for his former boss and mentor, Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson, who once referred to Israeli Jews in the West Bank as “termites.”

Victory in the January 2021 Runoff Election

In the January 5, 2021 runoff election, Ossoff narrowly defeated Perdue by a margin of 50.6% to 49.4%. With Raphael Warnock also winning a tight race against incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, the Democrats secured their desired 50-50 “majority” in the U.S. Senate. Ossoff took office on January 20, 2021.

Claiming That Republicans Oppose Minority “Voting Rights”

From his earliest days as a Senator, Ossoff was vocal in advancing the Democrats’ claim that “voting rights” — particularly those of nonwhite minorities — were being increasingly undermined by Republicans throughout the United States. In a February 2021 Senate hearing with then-Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland, Ossoff asked the AG if he (Garland) could provide an “assurance that the Department of Justice will diligently and fully enforce constitutional and statutory guarantees of the rights to vote.” At the time, there were ongoing debates in the Georgia state legislature over Republican-led election-reform bills – most notably Georgia’s Senate Bill 202 — which Ossoff claimed, without evidence, would be especially harmful to “black and working-class voters.” President Joe Biden angrily characterized SB 202 as “Jim Crow in the 21st century” — i.e., an attempt by Republicans to discourage African American voters from going to the polls. In a similar vein, Ossoff issued a press release on April 2, 2021 that said: “The leadership of Georgia’s Republican Party is out of control and Georgia is hemorrhaging business and jobs because of their disastrous new Jim Crow voting law. The Governor and the legislature are deliberately making it harder for Black voters to vote. They know it. Everybody knows it and this egregious and immoral assault on voting rights has also put our state’s economy at grave risk.”

For details about what SB 202 actually called for, click here and here.

Condemning the Death Penalty & “Extrajudicial Killings” by Police

On April 14, 2021, Ossoff questioned then-nominee for Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, Kristen Clarke, about whether she might “use the power of this office to end extrajudicial killings of [black] American citizens by law enforcement.” “I don’t believe that the state should be in the business of killing its own citizens,” Ossoff stated as well. “That’s why I am an opponent of the death penalty. And when the killing of citizens is extrajudicial, in my view, that is an egregious form of violence and an act of tyranny. This week, yet again, the nation is grappling with the reality that in particular, unarmed Black men are subjected to violence at the hands of the state. Another young black man shot to death by a law enforcement officer.”

Calling for Israeli Ceasefire After Palestinian Rocket Attacks Spark Military Conflict

On May 16, 2021, Ossoff led a group of 29 Senate Democrats calling for Israel to declare an immediate ceasefire in its military conflict with Palestinian terrorists. The conflict had begun on May 11, when Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants launched hundreds of rockets at the Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, killing two people and wounding more than 90 others.

Massive Investments in Apple Corporation, Despite What Ossoff Calls the Company’s “Abusive” Practices

While Ossoff has publicly condemned large corporations such as Apple for their “abusive” business practices, Senate financial disclosures reveal that Ossoff himself has owned millions of dollars in shares of stock in that very same company. Indeed, Ossoff’s stock portfolio in 2020 included Apple holdings valued at between $1 million to $5 million. This information emerged in May 2021, just a month after Ossoff had challenged Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer during a Senate hearing over the company’s inability to control fraudulent iPhone applications.

Supporter of the Paycheck Fairness Act

On June 8, 2021, Ossoff urged his Senate colleagues to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, legislation designed to give the federal government additional authority to enforce the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and thus reduce any alleged inequities in the respective earnings of men and women in the workplace. Ossoff, who had co-sponsored the legislation when it was introduced in February 2021, said in a statement on June 8: “Pay discrimination has been illegal since 1963, yet women are still not paid equally for equal work. I am urging my colleagues to come together to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and end pay discrimination against women once and for all.”

  • The objectives of the Paycheck Fairness Act were founded upon the false premise that women as a group are paid less than men of equal qualifications and responsibilities in the workplace. For details debunking this alleged “gender wage gap,” click here.

Claiming That FEMA Policies Discriminate Against Blacks

In August 2021, Ossoff joined Republican Senator Tim Scott in calling for reforms of FEMA policies “in order to ensure Black owners of heirs’ property are not unjustly denied disaster relief.” In a joint letter issued to U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the Senators wrote: “[We are] deeply concerned that current regulations and procedures have a disproportionate negative impact on Black property owners, who due to historic discrimination, especially in the South, are at times unable to demonstrate clear title to property which they have inherited and do indeed own, and who therefore are ruled ineligible for disaster assistance which they need and should rightly receive.”

Supporter of “Election Reform” Legislation

From August through October of 2021, Ossoff continued to introduce or co-sponsor Democrat-led legislation designed to grant the federal government greater power to control state election laws. For example, he was a sponsor of the Right to Vote Act, the Freedom to Vote Act, and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021. According to Ossoff’s office, the bill named after Lewis in particular would:

  • “Restore and update the Voting Rights Act to require that states and localities with a history of problematic voting laws — like Georgia — obtain approval from the Justice Department before making changes to voting policies or practices.”
  • “Establish new requirements for diverse states and localities to obtain approval from the Justice Department before making certain types of voting changes that have historically been used to discriminate against communities of color –– namely polling place closures, partisan redistricting, and more.”
  • “Expand and strengthen protections for election workers, polling places, and other election infrastructure through Sen. Ossoff’s Election Worker and Polling Place Advancement Act.”
  • “Empower the U.S. Attorney General and individuals to challenge state and local election laws that diminish voting access for voters of color, like Georgia’s SB 202.”

To view a Heritage Foundation report with details about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, click here.

Ossoff’s Policy Positions on Key Issues

As matters of principle, Ossoff believes that:

  • all women should have an unrestricted right to abortion-on-demand at any stage of pregnancy – subsidized by taxpayers, in cases of economic hardship;
  • public and private employers alike should be legally required to implement affirmative-action hiring and promotion policies that give preference to African Americans and women, as compensation for historical injustices;
  • the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an excellent statute that can serve a strategic stepping stone toward the eventual implementation of a government-run, single-payer healthcare system;
  • Social Security should remain entirely and permanently under federal control, with no movement whatsoever toward any degree of privatization;
  • voucher programs designed to enable low-income parents to send their children to private schools rather than to failing public schools, constitute bad policy because they rob the public schools of vital resources;
  • the discretion of judges and juries should not be diminished by formulaic sentencing policies like “Three Strikes” laws;
  • the death penalty should be abolished as “cruel and unusual punishment”;
  • more guns in the hands of private citizens inevitably result in higher levels of crime, thus the availability of firearms should be restricted by whatever means are effective;
  • wealthy people and high income earners should pay dramatically higher tax rates than those with less wealth or lower incomes;
  • restrictions on immigration are basically racist because they tend to prevent Hispanics and other non-whites from entering the United States;
  • social services should be available to all U.S. residents regardless of their immigration status;
  • illegal aliens should be offered amnesty if they have been productive members of society;
  • voter ID laws are racist and designed to suppress minority voting;
  • an ever-increasing reliance on “green energy” sources such as wind and solar should be put in place, along with the phasing out of fossil fuels, the imposition of carbon taxes, and the raising of vehicle CAFE standards;
  • federal spending on public infrastructure projects and job programs is crucial to the success of any economic recovery program;
  • the nationalization of banks and corporations is preferable to federal bailouts of those entities.

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