Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a West Virginia Democrat up for re-election next year, is urging President Donald Trump’s administration to block the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to Chinese investors.
Manchin’s move comes via a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton and commissioners Kara M. Stein and Michael S. Piwowar, a letter provided exclusively to Breitbart News by Manchin’s office ahead of its public release.
“Our government considers our stock exchanges—a key part of our national financial market infrastructure—to be ‘self-regulatory organizations,’ and presumes that each exchange is fully capable of managing the risk inherent in its operations,” Manchin said in a statement to Breitbart News. “The Chinese government’s continued rejection of fundamental free-market norms and property rights of private citizens makes me strongly doubt whether an Exchange operating under the direct control of a Chinese entity can be trusted to ‘self-regulate’ now and in the future.”
Manchin’s letter comes on the heels of another recent effort he led in the Senate in which a group of senators sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to urge President Donald Trump’s administration to continue to treat China as a non-market economy due to its currency manipulation and other questionable actions by the Communist east Asian powerhouse.
“I fear that that the challenges plaguing the Chinese market—lack of transparency, currency manipulation, etc.—will bleed into the Chicago Stock Exchange and adversely impact financial markets across the country,” Manchin said in his statement provided to Breitbart News exclusively. “As we continue to employ the greatest lengths of diplomacy to shore up our relationship with China, we must not forget their desire to emerge on top of the international market as the sole global power.”
Reuters reported on the looming deal in which the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX) is reportedly up for consideration to potentially be sold to Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group (CCEG), a group that includes both Chinese and U.S. investors.
“The proposal to sell privately owned CHX for an undisclosed amount to a consortium led by Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group (CCEG) has drawn attention because it would be the first time a U.S. exchange has been bought by Chinese investors,” Reuters wrote on July 10, while reporting on efforts by members of Congress to stop the sale. “There are also U.S. investors in the group.”
In his letter to Clayton, Stein, and Piwowar, Manchin commends them for extending the review period of the looming potential sale and urges them to reject it. Manchin wrote:
I commend you for your decision to extend the review period for the Security and Exchange Commission’s review of the proposed acquisition of the Chicago Stock Exchange by a group of investors led by the Chinese firm Congqing Casin Enterprise Group (CCEG). I write to urge the Commission to reject this proposed acquisition, which is a threat to the United States’ financial security and Americans’ faith in our national financial market infrastructure. Under section 19(b)(2)(B) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and Rule 19b-4 thereunder, the sale cannot take place unless this Commission approves a rule change for CHX Holdings, the parent company of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Inc., to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of N.A. Casin Holdings. It is my sincere belief that this proposed acquisition presents both serious national security concerns and greatly increases the overall nature and level of risk presented by the Exchange, and for this reason I urge the Commission to disapprove of the requested rule change and reject the proposed acquisition.
Manchin adds in the letter that he worries Chinese market issues like currency manipulation and lack of transparency will seep into the Chicago Stock Exchange if this sale is approved:
I fear that that the challenges plaguing the Chinese market—lack of transparency, currency manipulation, etc.—will bleed into the Chicago Stock Exchange and adversely impact financial markets across the country. As we continue to employ the greatest lengths of diplomacy to shore up our relationship with China, we must not forget their desire to emerge on top of the international market as the sole global power. Their sustained efforts to steal intellectual property and state-sponsored cyber-attacks present clear and present threats to our national security, and I believe it is highly likely that they will employ similar, deceitful practices to gain an unfair advantage in our financial markets through this acquisition.
A hallmark of President Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016 was the promise to officially label China a currency manipulator, a move that would increase tensions between the U.S. and China. He has not yet done that, as he has been attempting to leverage and pressure China into stepping up against Communist North Korea, one of if not the biggest security threats on the world stage due to dictator Kim Jong-Un’s nuclear ambitions. The move to pressure China into action has not yet been successful, but Trump has said he will keep trying while also pursuing other avenues of taking on an increasingly rogue North Korea.
Manchin faces re-election next year, and while Republicans are hopeful they may be able to beat him in November 2018, his populist tendencies have helped him skate past the GOP in previous unsuccessful attempts to defeat him. Manchin has been one of the only national Democrats to fight back against forces inside his party dragging it to the radical far left. He has been willing to work with the Trump administration on some major big-ticket items, including especially on coal and other energy policy–perhaps one of if not the biggest issues to West Virginia.
With nine other Democrats in states Trump won in 2016 also up for re-election–there are 10 total–it remains to be seen if Republicans will pull off a miracle against Manchin this time. But for now, with this move pushing the SEC to reject the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to the Chinese and battles on behalf of the coal industry among others, Manchin seems on the right path to avoid electoral defeat yet again.