Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen became one of President Joe Biden’s first Congress-approved cabinet nominees when she was confirmed this week to the position of treasury secretary.
Despite the fanfare within the Democratic Party over her Senate confirmation, certain troubling financial details from her past have begun to re-emerge — including evidence that she accepted money from a company tied to China’s communist regime.
“Savvy and personal connections”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sang Yellen’s praises during a recent press conference, particularly due to the fact that she is the first woman to head the U.S. Department of Treasury.
Nevertheless, critics are seizing on a disclosure form that showed she received speaking fees from a Chinese firm called Caixin.
A Washington Post article in May stated that Caixin’s founder, Hu Shuli, is connected to high-ranking communist figures. At the time, reports indicated that Hu founded the company in 2013, paving the way for her influence to grow within the Chinese power structure.
The Post noted that “Hu’s savvy and personal connections” were commonly cited as the factors that allowed her to foster close relationships with some of the communist nation’s most prominent political figures.
As the National Journal added, Caixin counted “tech giant Tencent Holding Ltd. and investment firm China Media Capital” as some of its major sources of financial backing.
“Paid to give her perspective”
For its part, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation characterized Tencent as a “tool of the Chinese government.”
That report went on to allege that the foreign firm has “no meaningful ability to tell the Chinese Communist Party ‘no’ if officials decide to ask for their assistance.”
Yellen’s receipt of payments from one of its business partners comes in addition to backlash over her relationship with Citadel, a Wall Street hedge fund caught up in the recent brouhaha regarding efforts among minor investors to drive up the stock price of certain distressed companies.
Citadel is denying allegations that it pressured retail broker Robinhood to prevent clients from purchasing shares of GameStop stock. When pressed on the concerns about the incoming treasury secretary, however, Psaki offered an evasive response.
She referred reporters to a Securities Exchange Commission statement on the matter, adding that she does not “have anything more for you on it — other than to say, separate from the GameStop issue, the secretary of Treasury is one of the world-renowned experts on markets, on the economy” and that it should come as no “surprise to anyone she was paid to give her perspective and advice before she came into office.”