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Down the Middle

Montana shouldn't be 'Xi Jinping Investment Club'

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Like most endeavors the legislature is short staffed. So bills sometimes do not match the titles, communications are difficult, and the legislative web site is not up to date. Neither we, nor the public, know for sure what is accomplished or pending. Yet, I was surprised when summoned from one committee and told I had to present a bill in another committee; “They are waiting.” I asked which bill I had to present. “Something about Revising Board of Investment Laws.”

Sharp eyed readers remember that four years ago I wrote about Montana investing our retirement funds in Russian and Chinese political/industrial/military complex’s and how Senator Marco Rubio (R) Florida was trying to stop the United States from doing the same thing. I tried a bill last session to stop Montana from investing retirement funds in the Chinese and Russian munitions firms that make the bullets aimed at our Montana Guardsmen stationed overseas. Tabled. Rubio is still trying. So am I. 

Like Rubio I attacked the issue by limiting Montana’s retirement investments to firms that have been audited using the Sarbanes Oxley criterion. A firm owned or controlled by the Chinese military or the Chinese Communist Party will not accept such an in-depth audit claiming state secrets. 

Until recently Montana was invested in Gazprom and Sberbank, which provided arms to the Ukrainian communist separatists. When the Russian tanks crossed into Ukraine Montana’s retirement portfolio lost $17,000, 000 in one second. We still have a bushel of Russian rubles ($25,000 worth) to show for our “see no evil” investment strategy. 

The CIA says that China National Nuclear refines the radioactive material that makes up the nuclear bombs mounted on the Chinese ICBM’s aimed at America. President Trump banned investing in Gazprom and China National Nuclear. The big losses came after that. If a future president reverses the banning of China National Nuclear or Gazprom we will automatically reinvest when Black Rock or Morgan Stanley puts them back in their offerings. That is our policy. It seems so short sighted.

SB 161, Revise Board of Investment Laws, was unanimously tabled in Committee. I tried to blast it to receive full debate on the Senate floor. My statement that Montana invested your funds in the technology that created the Chinese spy balloon was ruled out of order. I, you, we, lost 19-30. Needed 26. 

Combined, former President Trump and President Biden have banned 50 Chinese firms from American investment. Montana holds 1100 Chinese firms in our portfolio. Many of those are holding companies that hold many more. Many are sanctioned.

Trust us. We are the/your government. 

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