Meese, DeMint, Wolf, Poindexter lead letter urging ending China investment of retirement funds

July 30, 2020, Fairfax, Va.—A group letter urging divestment of private pensions from Chinese state-owned companies was sent to U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia today with signators headlined by former Attorney General Ed Meese, former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, former Congressman Frank Wolf, former Reagan National Security Advisor Vice Admiral John Poindexter, retired Lt. General Steven Kwast and more than 230 others.

“The investment of private retirement funds into Chinese companies that do not comply with basic transparency standards, and in many cases rely upon child- and slave-labor, is incompatible with fundamental American values and must be discontinued,” the letter states.

The diverse group includes religious leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association to business leaders like Capital Management CEO and President Keith Sirois and USA Radio Network CEO Fred Weinberg as well as China critics Dr. Xiaoxu Sean Lin, the Executive Director of the Global Alliance Against Communist Propaganda and Dr. Jianli Yang, founder of Citizen Power Initiatives for China.

The letter urges Secretary Scalia to amend a proposed Financial Factors in Selecting Plan Investments rule to explicitly disallow any private retirement funds from investing in non-transparent assets which are not subject to the rigorous independent auditing requirements faced by U.S. public companies.

Rick Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government and a former Labor Transition team member for President Trump, previously sent another letter directly to Secretary Scalia on July 9 arguing for ending private retirement investments in China writing:

“I want to assure you that I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment and decision on excluding risky Chinese assets from the federal employees 401(K) Thrift Savings Plan. Your statement that stopping the inclusion of Chinese assets was necessary because it, ‘would place millions of federal employees, retirees, and service-members in the untenable position of choosing between forgoing any investment in international equities or placing billions of dollars in retirement savings in risky companies that pose a threat to U.S. national security’ is exactly on point.

“The obvious question is if these assets are too risky for inclusion in the federal TSP, why would they be allowed to be included in private 401(K) investments where the same argument directly applies? The answer is that they are not, and under ERISA it is the Labor Department’s job to protect private sector retirement specific investments or pensions from choices that are unsuitably risky.”

The letter itself points to the repugnant practice of making unwitting private U.S. retirees investors in Chinese companies which use child- and slave-labor, “effectively making individual 401(k) owners or pensioners parties to and profiteers from the exploitation of the victims of such cruel abuse.”

The comment period for the Labor Department regulation ends today, and Americans for Limited Government implores that it reflect the fiduciary concerns about the security of investments in Chinese assets by disallowing them under the provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Attachments:

Letter to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, July 30, 2020, from 240 conservative leaders, https://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/China-Pensions-Letter-7-30-20.pdf

Letter to Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, July 9, 2020, from Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning, https://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/DOL-Letter-Private-Pension-Investment-China.pdf

Interview Availability: Please contact Americans for Limited Government at 703-383-0880 ext. 1 or at media@limitgov.org.

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