Jul 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign bans staffers from using TikTok, trading stocks without approval

Joe Biden
Photo: Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign is asking staffers to delete TikTok from their phones and forbidding them from trading individual stocks without first getting approval from the campaign's general counsel, according to Bloomberg News.

Why it matters: Biden is seeking to draw a contrast with President Trump and members of his family and administration, whom Democrats have accused of profiting from his presidency.

  • "As we gear up to officially become the Democratic nominee, we took a moment to ensure that the policies of our campaign represent the highest ethical standards,” Bill Russo, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement.
  • The campaign is also acknowledging broader security concerns about TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video app that has come under heightened scrutiny from lawmakers and businesses in recent weeks.

Driving the news: Biden's general counsel, Dana Remus, emailed campaign employees with the updated guidance, as some members of Congress have been forced to defend their rationale for stock trades that netted them hundreds of thousands of dollars during the coronavirus crisis.

  • Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) was forced to step down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee while the Department of Justice investigates stocks he sold before the broader market collapsed in February.
  • Burr has claimed that he traded stocks based on news reports, not insider information that he gleaned in his capacity as chairman of a committee that has access to classified information.
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