Richmond, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin is facing criticism from Democrats after his political action committee (PAC), Spirit of Virginia, received a $2 million contribution from wealthy TikTok investor Jeff Yass.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Yass’ investment company owns a 15% stake in TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance.
The donation comes less than a year after Youngkin signed an executive order banning TikTok on all state devices and networks claiming, “TikTok and WeChat data are a channel to the Chinese Communist Party, and their continued presence represents a threat to national security, the intelligence community, and the personal privacy of every single American.”
It’s for this reason that Democratic House Minority Leader Don Scott says Youngkin should give the money back.
“He should keep his promises, but instead he’s taking money from an investor who has made hundreds of millions in TikTok and who is one of the primary main investors in TikTok in America,” Scott told 8News.
In a statement, Spirit of Virginia Chairman and Senior Youngkin Advisor Dave Rexrode said, “The Governor is incredibly grateful for all of the support from people across Virginia and the country. The progressive left is wholly owned and funded by special interests. That’s why Mr. Scott has no message and nothing to offer Virginians—he takes marching orders from Joe Biden and D.C. and an activist who wants California to dictate the car Virginians drive.”
Meanwhile, 8News reached out to Youngkin’s office and asked if it’s a conflict of interest for the governor to accept money from investors in TikTok when he has worked to ban the app in Virginia.
Youngkin’s spokesperson Macaulay Porter responded by saying, “The governor is proud of his record safeguarding Virginians’ privacy. He signed Executive Order 24 which banned WeChat and TikTok on state devices. Additionally, he signed legislation that extends the ban to all public entities in order to protect the state government from bad actors.”
Scott responded by saying in his view, this is about a governor who says one thing and does another.
“It’s difficult to find out what he really believes and what he stands for because he flip-flops so very often,” Scott said.
Yass’ contribution is just one of several large donations Spirit of Virginia has received. In fact, the organization said Youngkin raised $4.4 million this week alone.