Governor Kristi Noem has called for the immediate review of South Dakota’s investment to ensure there are no ties to the Chinese government.
“South Dakotans deserve to know if their taxpayer dollars are being invested to benefit the Chinese Communist Party,” said Noem on Dec. 8.
She said that taxpayer dollars should not be invested in “companies that pose a threat to our national security, like those in Communist China.”
“The Investment Council has ensured that South Dakota has the best-funded pension in the country,” she continued. “But it is not possible to make good deals with bad people. If this review shows that such investment is taking place, then the Investment Council should propose alternative investment options.”
South Dakota’s Investment Council was established in 1971 and oversees a $19 billion portfolio representing the state’s retirement system. This includes the benefits of public employees as well as the school and public land trusts and the healthcare trust fund. The State Treasurer, the Commissioner of School and Public Lands and the executive director of the South Dakota Retirement System are all among the eight voting members of the council.
The council has seven days to comply with Noem’s request.
“China’s government has worked in recent years to exert stronger ties to companies by pushing the development of party cells, which are small committees of Communist Party members, within companies,” reports AP News. “But it’s not clear how much influence the cells have on company operations, and experts say the relationship between the party and business is complicated.”
The review is the latest effort undertaken by Noem to sever any potential influence the CCP could have in her state. The governor issued an executive order banning TikTok on state-owned devices on Nov. 30 – an action replicated by three other governors in subsequent days. Noem said the popular social media platform could be a potential cybersecurity threat. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, employs members of the Chinese Communist Party and has admitted Chinese officials could access collected user data.
During an appearance on Fox News, Noem said the Chinese government has “a long term plan to dominate the United States of America and destroy us” and that Americans “don’t have a president that’s protecting us.”
“It’s clear that China is an enemy of the United States of America,” Noem said. “They hate us, and that we should be doing everything we can to protect the citizens of this country from them and their actions.”