Seal Beach attorney Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committee member and husband of Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel, was named Tuesday in a Wall Street Journal report alleging influence peddling in the Trump administration with Chinese foreign nationals.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee referred to Steel as Michelle Steel’s “shady husband” in a news release, prompting cries of racism and sexism from Michelle Steel’s campaign for Congress.
A campaign official for Michelle Steel, who is running against Rep. Harley Rouda, D-Newport Beach, accused the DCCC and Rouda of sexism and racism.
“Harley Rouda’s history of discrimination against women knows no limits,” said Lance Trover of Michelle Steel’s campaign.
“Michelle’s parents literally fled communist North Korea. Rouda and his DC pals’ accusations against a woman who came here with her mother and sisters to pursue the American Dream is sexist, discriminatory and racist.”
Rouda campaign officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Andy Orellana of the DCCC said, “Michelle Steel’s silence on her husband peddling access to foreign governments in order to influence our elections, tells the voters all they need to know about whose best interests she has at heart — not the families of Orange County.
“Let’s not forget that the voters of CA-48 already rejected in 2018 a co-opted Republican official with direct ties to a foreign government, and they don’t want another corrupted Republican who’s lobbying her foreign interests over the needs of Californians.”
In 2018, Rouda unseated then-Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who had held the seat since 1989.
The Wall Street Journal reported in an investigative report based on campaign finance records and other sources that soon after Donald Trump was sworn in as president in 2017, donors with ties to China gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the president for his re-election campaign in exchange for access.
The newspaper reported that Chinese nationals as guests of Shawn Steel attended an invitation-only meeting in May 2017 in which Republican leaders talked about campaign strategy.
Shawn Steel told the Journal it would be “false, defamatory and offensive” to suggest he helped the Chinese government’s efforts. When City News Service asked for comment, Shawn Steel replied in an email, “That’s mean!”
Republican National Committee officials told the Journal it told Steel to “break ties” with several people in the newspaper’s report.
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