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VICTOR JOECKS: The spy sex scandal the media isn’t interested in

A hot-shot member of Congress had his political career boosted by an alleged Chinese spy. He refuses to say whether he had a sexual relationship with her.

That’s sensational enough for a movie plot, but most of the national mainstream media isn’t that interested. Anyone want to guess to which political party this congressman belongs?

On Monday night, Axios dropped a bombshell. It revealed that a suspected Chinese spy named Christina Fang had successfully wormed her way into Democratic political circles in the Bay Area. That included getting close to then-City Councilman Eric Swalwell, a Democrat.

Fang operated in the United States from 2011 to 2015. Her cover was enrolling at California State University East Bay. She led the Chinese Student Association. This allowed her to network with a number of up-and-coming local politicians.

Swalwell fit the bill. In 2012, he successfully challenged a 20-term member of Congress and fellow Democrat. Fang helped connect Swalwell to the Asian-American community. Swalwell was heavily dependent on that group’s support.

Fang bundled money for Swalwell, too, Axios reported. Because campaign contributions are so important, this can give someone significant influence with a politician. She placed at least one intern with Swalwell’s congressional office.

Fang’s goal appears to have been gaining access. Political intelligence and personal relationships with those in power are valuable to rival nations. In 2015, Swalwell received a defensive briefing on Fang’s activities. He cut off contact with her, and she returned to China.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said intelligence officials believed Swalwell, who was single at the time, had a sexual relationship with Fang. When asked, Swalwell’s office refused to comment. Axios reported that Fang also had “sexual or romantic relationships” with at least two mayors from the Midwest.

Swalwell sits on the House Intelligence Committee and launched a short-lived bid for president last year.

This is a juicy story filled with intrigue, power, scandal and sex. But the national media largely took a pass. Broadcast news, ABC, NBC and CBS didn’t cover it in during their morning or evening news shows the day after the story broke, according to Fox News. A search of The New York Times website on Thursday for the terms “Eric Swalwell” and “Fang” returned no results. A search on The Washington Post’s site returned one result. It was an article about how Speaker Nancy Pelosi has “no concerns” about Swalwell after the Axios report. CNN ignored it until the network invited Swalwell on to provide his spin.

Swalwell spent much of the past four years falsely accusing President Donald Trump of colluding with Russia. But now that it’s Swalwell who spent years carousing with an alleged Chinese spy, most media are nowhere to be found.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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