SKDK chief executive Doug Thornell and firm partner Oren Shur met on Dec. 20 with Caitlin Meloski, a special assistant to the National Economic Council, which advises the president on economic policy.
While details of the meeting are unclear, it raised questions about the degree of influence TikTok and its representatives have on the Biden White House. TikTok hired SKDK within the past few months to provide “communications support” as it fights a push to ban the app because of concerns that the Chinese government could use the platform to spy on Americans. SKDK reportedly advised TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew for a congressional hearing last month in which he downplayed concerns about China’s control of the social media platform.
SKDK’s arrangement with TikTok has come under scrutiny because of the consulting firm’s relationship with the Biden administration. Most of that scrutiny has focused on Anita Dunn, an SKDK founding partner and one of Biden’s top aides. Government watchdog groups worry that SKDK, which received millions of dollars from the Biden campaign in 2020, could use its political connections to gain access for its corporate clients. Dunn advised firms like Salesforce, AT&T, and Pfizer until she left SKDK last year.