The Washington Free Beacon reported on July 9 that Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) is a heavy investor along with his wife, Cynthia, in retail, commercial development in Shanghai that is part of a venture between a group controlled by the Chinese government and Disney.
According to the reporting, the Blumenthals made their annual governmental financial disclosures, which disclose an investment of between $100,000 and $250,000 in a company named U.S. Shanghai LLC. U.S. Shanghai is a subsidiary company of Malkin Properties, which is in turn owned by Sen. Blumenthal’s brother-in-law, Scott Malkin.
U.S. Shanghai LLC entered into a partnership in 2014 with the Shanghai Shendi Group, which the Chinese government owns. The league built Shanghai Village, a large retail resort near Shanghai Disneyland.
Disney has already faced criticism from former attorney general William Barr for its dealings with Shanghai Shendi Group, which also is involved in commercial ventures with Malkin Properties. Barr pointed out that more than 300 Shanghai Disneyland employees are active members of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Shanghai Shendi Group has required that it approve of many of Disney’s activities in China, including which park rides would be permitted. Disney then chose not to use many classic theme park rides that were popular in the United States.
Sen. Blumenthal claimed to not know about his six-figure investment in the company until he was asked for comment by the Washington Free Beacon. A spokesperson for the senator’s wife acknowledged that she is a “passive investor” in the company owned by her brother, Scott Malkin. The Blumenthals have been investors in U.S. Shanghai LLC since 2014.
Sen. Blumenthal,75, has a net worth of over $70 million and was first elected to the Senate in 2010. During that campaign, Blumenthal made statements about his alleged military service in Vietnam called into question by the media. He first denied misleading voters but later apologized for having “misspoken” about his record and said he had not been “clear or precise.”
Blumenthal’s investment in a Chinese-controlled business could become an election issue next year when he is up for reelection. Blumenthal’s claimed ignorance of his sizable investment in the company could be seen as both a reflection of his great personal fortune and his reluctance to acknowledge connections to the Chinese Communist Party.