The U.S.-China Transpacific foundation – a Chinese Communist Party-funded group – has sponsored several trips to China for U.S. Congressional staff including Mitt Romney’s top National Security Policy Advisor and Chuck Schumer’s Senior Advisor, The National Pulse can exclusively reveal.
Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings reveal a 2015 letter wherein China’s Ambassador to the U.S. requests approval from the Obama administration for the U.S.-China Transpacific Foundation (UCTPF) to sponsor trips to China for congressional staff.
The letter to then-Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Richard Stengel noted the Chinese Communist Party would “fund all activities of this program”:
“The Government of the People’s Republic of China, as represented by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the U.S., is the sponsor of this program. It will fund all activities of this program and no private funds will be used. However, no funding will be provided for expenses incurred by or for any member of the family or household of the federal employees participating in the program. The National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs will be the host organizations in China.”
Stengel ultimately approved the request, noting he was “pleased” to do so.
Shortly after, a host of American lobbying firms began to ink lucrative contracts with the foundation to implement the proposed trips. As a Capitol Counsel filing notes, it was retained to “assist with Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act (MECEA) approved travel to China.”
“The program is intended to provide the Members of Congress and/or the congressional staff the opportunity to enhance their understanding on the cultural, economic, political and social developments of the People’s Republic of China, thus helping strengthen U.S.-China relations,” FARA filings added.
In contrast, the Trump administration terminated MECEA programs including the UCTPF exchange, dubbing them “propaganda tools.”
At least seven exchange programs occurred in the short period between October 2017 and October 2019.
In April 2019 “at the invitation of US-China Transpacific Foundation, Megan Reiss, National Security Policy Advisor of the United States Senator Mitt Romney, led a delegation of twelve congressional staff on a visit to China,” per the UCTPF.
And in April 2018, “Ryan McConaghy, Assistant Democratic Secretary of the United States Senate, previously Staff Director at the Democratic Policy and Communications Center run by Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, led a delegation of eleven congressional staff on a visit to China.”
The former Schumer aide’s trip included a visit to the “hometown of the first leader of People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong” where UCTPF professes the “delegation gained an in-depth understanding of his revolutionary efforts.”
“Later, they headed for Orange Island Park as beautifully described in the poem penned by Mao himself,” an event summary adds.
In October 2019, “William Kelsey Van Horne, legislative counsel of Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, led a delegation of twelve congressional staff on a visit to China from October 6th to October 14th, 2019.”
“On the afternoon of October 10th, the delegation went for a long-anticipated visit to Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd, where they had an in-depth discussion on the future development of 5G technology, intellectual property protection, network security, and the development of private enterprises in China. This Huawei trip gave delegates a deeper understanding of Huawei’s development strategy and corporate culture,” a summary added.
An October 2017 delegation was led by Celeste Gold, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Never Trump Senator Jeff Flake and current Administrative Director for Senator Romney and an August 2018 delegation was led by Democratic Staff Director of the Senate Finance Committee Joshua Sheinkman.
Among the entities visited by the delegations included city-level Chinese Communist Party officials, state-owned thinktank and companies, and the country’s Supreme Court.
Prior to departing to China, attendees were provided with nearly 400-page primers on the Chinese Communist Party relating to trade, intellectual property, the One Belt One Road Initiative, and more:
Among the articles cited are several pieces from Chinese state-run media outlets such as Xinhua and Global Times entitled “US Accusations About Technology Transfer Ring False” and “U.S. Hysterical in Blocking Sci-Tech Exchanges.”