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ICYMI: Rubio & Shaheen: Federal Retirement Savings Should Not Fund China’s Communist Party

Sep 30, 2019 | Press Releases

Federal retirement savings should not fund China’s Communist Party
By U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Jeanne Shaheen
September 30, 2019
During the Cold War, it would have been unthinkable for the U.S. government to force members of the military and federal employees to invest their retirement savings in funds that included Soviet companies working against U.S. interests and values.
Yet the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board—the body that manages the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), the 401(k) for federal employees—wants to funnel the retirement savings of these Americans directly to a regime that poses one of the greatest threats to our nation’s long-term security and prosperity: the Chinese Communist Party.
The Board’s short-sighted, foolish decision to use the MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Investable Market Index as a benchmark means TSP retirement accounts will effectively fund companies that engage in human rights abuses and support China’s efforts to undermine America. It exposes nearly $50 billion in assets to severe and undisclosed material risks associated with many Chinese companies listed on the index.
Last month, we urged the Board to swiftly and publicly reverse its decision and provide information on how it was reached. The Board’s response was not only wholly inadequate, but also informed us that it is outsourcing its review to a Wall Street consultant.

Congress and the administration are actively working to counter the long-term threats these companies pose, many of which will soon receive investments directly from the paychecks of our own federal government employees. America’s investors should never be a source of wealth funding the Chinese Communist Party at the expense of our nation’s future prosperity. If the Board refuses to publicly reverse this decision, Congress must act.
China’s economy is intentionally opaque, and Beijing uses state-owned and state-directed enterprises to control production, compete in global markets, and serve the Chinese Communist Party’s military, political, and economic goals. China also routinely blocks U.S. regulators from viewing the full audit reports of publicly-traded companies headquartered in Hong Kong and mainland China.
The Board’s decision to force our nation’s public servants to invest TSP retirement funds in unscrupulous Chinese companies raises serious fiduciary concerns because it ignores a fundamental tenet of our securities laws: investor protection. It’s our responsibility to ensure that U.S. service members and federal employees do not unwittingly undermine the American interests they work hard everyday to protect.
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