Rep. Banks Urges California Governor to Investigate CIO of Nation’s Largest Pension Fund for Ties to China

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Washington, February 12, 2020 | comments

WASHINGTON – Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03), member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter today to California Governor Gavin Newsom urging him to investigate California Public Employees' Retirement System’s (CalPERS) Chief Investment Officer (CIO), Yu Ben Meng, for his ties to the Chinese Communist Party and suspicious investment decisions.  

“In his remarks last week, Secretary Pompeo was correct when he said China knows that it won’t get concessions from this administration, so it has pivoted to exploiting state and local governments,” said Banks. “Unfortunately, China found success in California. CalPERS has been funneling retired public servants’ savings to companies that abuse human rights and supply the Chinese military. And it has done so at the behest of its CIO, Yu Ben Meng, a man enlisted in China’s Thousand Talents Program—which has been described  by the FBI as one of China’s ‘non-traditional espionage’ programs.  This poses a national security risk to every region of the United States. I hope Governor Newsom appreciates the gravity of the situation and speedily launches an investigation into Yu Ben Meng and CalPERS.”

CalPERS is a state agency responsible for managing $360 billion of California public-sector workers’ retirement and health benefits.

CalPERS holds $3.1 billion worth of shares in 172 different Chinese Companies, many of which are complicit in the Chinese Communist Party’s human-rights abuses and act against the United States’ interests, including: China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, the largest manufacturer of China’s navy ships; Hikvision, the company that provides Xinjiang with its surveillance tools; and China Communications Construction Co, which is the largest builder in China’s Belt & Road Initiative.

CalPERS CIO, Yu Ben Meng, is a Thousand Talents Program recruit and worked for China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) until 2015, a state agency charged with managing 3.1 trillion in China’s foreign exchange assets.

The letter requests Governor Newsom investigate Mr. Meng’s ties to the Chinese Communist Party and review the effects his tenure has had on CalPERS investments in China. If you’d like a copy of Rep. Banks’ letter please email mitchell.hailstone@mail.house.gov and buckley.carlson@mail.house.gov.

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