Tech VC Keith Rabois Threatens to Halt Republican Funding Ahead of House Vote on TikTok Ban

A Republican megadonor has issued a stern warning to members of Congress, declaring that campaign contributions will cease unless they endorse a bill poised to effectively outlaw TikTok in the United States.

“Will never fund any Republican candidates or leadership PACs (or the NRSC) run by Republicans who vote against the TikTok legislation,” declared venture capitalist Keith Rabois in a statement on X.

On Wednesday, the House is set to approve legislation compelling TikTok’s parent company, China-based ByteDance, to divest the social media platform. Advocates for the bill argue that ByteDance’s continued control of TikTok and its vast user data present a significant national security risk to the United States.

“Support for the TikTok bill is an IQ test” for members of Congress, Rabois emphasized in an email to CNBC.

Tech VC Keith Rabois Threatens to Halt Republican Funding Ahead of House Vote on TikTok Ban
Rabois asserts support for TikTok ban is a test of Congress’s IQ. (Credits: Getty Images)

In February, Rabois donated $500,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee supporting House Republican candidates, as per a Federal Election Commission filing.

Rabois’ ultimatum could wield considerable influence over Republican lawmakers who remain undecided about backing the legislation.

The bill’s fate in the Senate remained uncertain as of Tuesday.

“On the Senate, it will be up to the Democrat Leader [Chuck Schumer] to bring it to the floor. If he does, we will have a clear voting record” of where each senator stands on the issue, Rabois informed CNBC.

Should the bill clear the Senate and receive presidential approval, ByteDance would have a mere six months to offload TikTok before the app faces prohibition from American app stores and web hosting services.

A managing director at Khosla Ventures, Rabois contributed over $41,000 collectively last year to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Additionally, he donated more than $120,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the NRSC’s House counterpart.

Tech VC Keith Rabois Threatens to Halt Republican Funding Ahead of House Vote on TikTok Ban
House to vote on bill compelling ByteDance to divest TikTok. (Credits: Getty Images)

Rabois indicated that his ongoing support for the NRCC would, in part, hinge on how Republican leadership navigates the impending vote.

House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana has signaled his intention to vote in favor of the measure, while Majority Leader Steve Scalise has labeled it a “critical national security bill.”

Republican Whip Tom Emmer has also thrown his weight behind the legislation, alleging in March 2023 that TikTok was “nothing but a CCP spy app, collecting the sensitive information of 150 million American users which can then be exploited by the Chinese government.”

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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