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GovCon Expert William Boykin: Federal Thrift Savings Plan’s New Investment Window

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(The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Executive Mosaic, its newsroom, or any of its affiliates)


By Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, (U.S. Army, Ret.)

As things stand now, the people who manage our federal retirement funds will mark Memorial Day with an egregious act of betrayal of our men and women in uniform, past and present, and their civilian colleagues. Based on my own experience serving our country, I think what they are doing by surreptitiously arranging for participants in the Thrift Savings Plan unwittingly to invest in companies owned or controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is tantamount to treacherous sedition.

On May 24th, I joined five prominent retired military leaders in warning the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) that, in “our professional judgment…mutual funds with such companies in the portfolio must be excluded from the Mutual Fund Window that the Thrift Savings Plan expects to open to
federal retirees [on June 1st].

We observed that: 

Under Chinese law, all PRC companies are obliged to assist the Party and its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) whenever asked to do so. Worse yet, some of those Chinese corporations listed or traded in our capital markets actually work directly for the PLA. It is completely unacceptable that our servicemen and women, past and present – or, for that matter their civilian counterparts among the federal workforce – might be put in a position where their investments may help acquire weapons intended to kill them.

We called on the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) “to refrain from opening mutual funds to TSP participants’ investments unless and until you have ensured than none of such investments will help enrich, enable or empower the Chinese Communist Party.”

Our bottom line is one that I am convinced the vast majority of Thrift Savings Plan participants – if not, as I would hope, every one of them – would strongly endorse: “The government of the United States should be precluding any underwriting of the CCP’s ominous military build-up and human rights abuses, not legitimating and facilitating them.”

This is not the first time the FRTIB and its lead fund-manager, Larry Fink’s BlackRock, have tried to help the Chinese Communists to gain access to our federal employees’ retirement savings. They attempted in 2020 a relatively above-board effort to the same end by switching the only option for international TSP investing to an index fund whose portfolio was substantially made up of CCP corporations. To his credit, President Trump personally intervened to block that gambit.

So, now the TSP fund managers have stealthily conjured up a far less transparent scheme, whereby participants are invited to put up to 25% of their retirement investments in one or more of perhaps as many as 5,000 mutual funds. While the FRTIB will not reveal which of such mutual funds it is offering – and, thereby, at least implicitly legitimizing and endorsing as prudent investments, it is widely expected that many will have problematic Chinese companies in portfolios. Yet, the TSP managers have said that they will not be making transparent the funds that include such companies and which ones.

Apart from the fiduciary irresponsibility of such an arrangement, there’s another factor that should concern every TSP participant still working in a sensitive position with or for the federal government: Professional harm could be done to government employees with security clearances if they wind up having what would rightly be deemed to be, at a minimum, a conflict of interest by dint of their investments in what has emerged as our greatest enemy of all time.

For these reasons, I urge Thrift Savings participants and other patriotic Americans to take a stand at once and express righteous indignation about the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board’s insidious, and potentially dangerous, help to the Chinese Communist Party. You can do so quickly and easily with your own elected representatives and with the FRTIB Board at www.NoTSPforCCP.org.

Please, do it today.

Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin capped a highly decorated 36-year career in the U.S. Army, including service as the commander of its elite Delta Force special operations unit and as the deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence.