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California Government Employee Raked In $1.7 Million Last Year, Previously Recruited By Chinese Espionage Program

California Government Employee Raked In $1.7 Million Last Year, Previously Recruited By Chinese Espionage Program

 

One might think the governor would be the highest paid state government employee, but that is not always the case. In California, former chief investment officer of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), Meng Yu, received $1.7 million in total pay and benefits in 2019, paid for by taxpayers.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that Meng’s compensation was revealed in financial disclosure forms obtained by watchdog group Transparent California. The pension fund covers two million members in retirement and provides health insurance to 1.5 million, the outlet reported.

Meng received the large amount of compensation even as CalPERS was subjected to multiple federal inquiries due to its investments in entities connected to the Chinese communist government. It should be no surprise that CalPERS invested in communist entities while leading an American pension fund, as he was previously recruited by a Chinese espionage program.

“Meng took the lead at the pension fund after China’s Thousand Talents Program recruited him to serve as the deputy CIO of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), a state-controlled entity. The FBI considers the Thousand Talents Program an example of ‘China’s non-traditional espionage against the United States’ that seeks to recruit people to transfer U.S. trade secrets and taxpayer-funded research into the hands of the Chinese government. Meng told the propaganda outlet People’s Daily that he worked for SAFE out of patriotic commitment to ‘the motherland,’” the Free Beacon reported.

Robert Fellner, executive director of Transparent California, which released the financial disclosures, told the outlet it appeared CalPERS didn’t do enough to scrutinize Meng before his hiring.

“One would think that the state’s highest-paid employee earned his position after rigorous scrutiny revealed him to be the best candidate for the job,” Fellner told the Free Beacon. “If such recklessness is prevalent in a decision of this size and magnitude, how can Californians have any faith that their tax dollars are being spent responsibly in all those areas that evade public scrutiny?”

Meng resigned in August following a Naked Capitalism blog post suggesting he may have committed a felony by filing “demonstrably false financial disclosure documents, flouting the requirements of the California Fair Political Practices Commission.”

“As a result, not only has Meng committed perjury, but CalPERS’ failure to review or require Meng to correct these documents points to a major compliance failure, since CalPERS has, or should have, records that would show that Meng’s financial disclosures were incomplete,” the outlet reported.

Further, Naked Capitalism reported, CalPERS didn’t release the financial disclosure forms until after “it became clear they’d be published regardless, suggesting that they were fully aware of this and potentially other lapses, yet refused to correct them.”

The Trump administration acknowledged in February that it was “looking at” the investments made by CalPERS under Meng, though it is unclear whether any progress has been made in the investigation.


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