The bombshell revelations about Pelosi in Red-Handed: How American Elites Get Rich Helping China Win also come as the Democrat stalwart is under fire for stock trading returns made by her and her husband that regularly outperform the market. Now, it appears as though her family's business opportunities in China have influenced her policy views on America's chief adversary, something sure to fuel the fire to rein in corruption in Congress.
Pelosi's family, Schweizer reveals, has had millions of dollars on the line when it comes to China, and the Speaker seems to have altered her positions on China's communist regime from a policy perspective as these investments grew and took shape.
Pelosi began her career as tough on China and still occasionally rips the Chinese Communist Party for human rights abuses.
“The longtime member of Congress and Speaker of the House was, early in her career, a particularly harsh critic of China's human rights practices,” Schweizer writes. “She continues to be vocal about some issues, but her positions have softened as her family has sought and received lucrative commercial opportunities in mainland China.”
In the early 1990s, Schweizer recounts how she even pulled off a protest in Tiananmen Square that infuriated Chinese officials:
In 1991, as a junior member of Congress, Pelosi found herself in Tiananmen Square. She was part of a congressional delegation visiting Beijing barely two years after the horrific events had un- folded. Pelosi had been in meetings with Chinese officials, but with a couple of colleagues, she covertly carried a banner into the middle of the square and unfurled it in front of a small crowd and the media. “To those who died for Democracy in China,” it read. The Chinese police were furious. They pushed through the crowd to seize the banner. “I started running,” Pelosi recalled. “And my colleagues, some of them, got a little roughed up. The press got treated worse because they had cameras, and they were detained.” The Foreign Ministry denounced the event as a “premeditated farce.
This move was not an isolated incident; Pelosi actually was tough on China for years.
Schweizer also recounts how Pelosi fought against giving China most-favored-nation trade status and against allowing China entry into the World Trade Organization. He also noted that in 2005, Pelosi spoke on the House floor in support of an amendment to block the Chinese National Overseas Oil Company (CNOOC), a Chinese government-backed entity, from purchasing Unocal, a California-based oil company.
But, Schweizer writes, Pelosi's “views began to moderate.” A March 2009 Politico story quotes people close to Pelosi noticing a “subtle shift” in her approach to China. Then-Politico reporter reporter Glenn Thrush wrote that while Pelosi “won't back down on her core commitment to democratization in the country,” according to people close to her “she's also not looking to pick new fights with China's leaders– or with the Obama Administration as it seeks to strengthen U.S.- China relations.”
The Wall Street Journal reported two months after that Politico story in May 2009 that Pelosi told the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum in Beijing that the reason for her “shift” on China was, as Schweizer writes, “a result, in part, of issues like climate change that the two countries needed to tackle together.”
“I think this climate crisis is game changing for the U.S.-China relationship,” Pelosi said at the event. “It is an opportunity we cannot miss.”
While the “climate crisis” is Pelosi's stated reason for softening on China, Schweizer argues in Red-Handed that “there were perhaps other factors at work,” noting that Pelosi's “husband and son started seeking and securing deals on mainland China.”
Schweizer explains that Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, “became a partner investor in Matthews International Capital Management, a pioneer in the Chinese investment market.” Matthews International Capital Management was run by Pelosi's “friend and political supporter” William Hambrecht, a mega donor who has given millions of dollars to Democrats and Democrat-aligned causes.
Hambrecht first launched a Chinese growth fund as far back as 1995, and Schweizer notes that Hambrecht was optimistic that technology–especially the internet–would help explode growth there.
The China Fund, Schweizer continues, is now Matthews' “best-known investment fund.” Schweizer quotes Matthews' China Fund fact sheet as saying, “Under normal market conditions, the Matthews China Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets, which include borrowings for investment purposes, in the common and preferred stocks of companies located in China.”
The Pelosi family has had millions of dollars invested in just this particular operation, Schweizer notes.
“In addition to Paul serving on the board, the Pelosis had a big chunk of money invested in Matthews,” Schweizer writes. “In 2010, the Pelosis held between $5 million and $25 million in a Matthews fund ‘specializing in Asian investment.' Paul Pelosi received partnership income between $100,000 and $1 million.”
The Matthews fund is not the only Pelosi family business opportunity tied to China. Pelosi's husband was involved with multiple limousine services, including one that catered to the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing.
“The Pelosis had previously become involved in other China ventures as well. Paul Pelosi's classmate from Georgetown, Vincent Wolfington, set up a limousine service called Global Ambassador Concierge, which catered to ultra-high net-worth individuals traveling around the world,” Schweizer writes. “One big market for Global: the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics.”
Originally, Pelosi had been opposed Beijing hosting the Olympic games in 2008. Schweizer notes that at the time, Pelosi was “arguing that [China's] human rights record should prevent it from such an honor.” But she appears to have changed her position after her husband had skin in the game business-wise.
“The year after her husband bought shares in Global Ambassador Concierge, she reversed course and opposed a boycott of Beijing's hosting of the games,” Schweizer writes.
Global was not the only limousine service that Pelosi's husband invested in and profited from. “The Pelosis also bought a stake in another limousine service, City Car Services (CCS), which Wolfington's son apparently ran,” Schweizer writes. “SEC documents show Paul Pelosi as a member of the board of directors of CCS.”
Pelosi's husband was not alone in the family for having business interests in China that clearly conflicted with Pelosi's duty as a member of, and leader in, Congress. Her son Paul Pelosi Jr. also had several business opportunities in China.
“Nancy Pelosi's son, Paul Pelosi Jr., was also looking for commercial opportunities on the mainland, and he embarked on a series of ventures that involved Chinese investors and clients,” Schweizer writes:
In June 2010, he became the chair of the Universal Energy and Services Group Advisory Board for a company called Tree Top Industries. Upon announcing his appointment, the company declared that Paul Jr. and the company chairman “plan to travel to Vietnam and China to meet potential investors and are attempting to arrange meetings in Washington DC with appropriate federal agencies.”
Tree Top eventually changed its name to Global Tech Industries Group, and Paul Pelosi Jr. remains a shareholder in the company. The firm has long sought partnerships in China.
Paul Pelosi Jr. joined the board of another company, International Media Acquisition Corp., with ambitious plans in China. “We believe India and other emerging economics markets, as well as China, represent excellent markets in which to find strong candidates for our initial business combination because of their relatively high growth rates,” stated the firm when it filed.
Schweizer concludes the Pelosi section of Red-Handed by noting that when the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States after emerging from Wuhan, China, the Democrat Speaker used her position to block any and all investigation into the origins of the virus.
“Beginning in 2020 and extending for more than a year, U.S. Speaker of the House Pelosi blocked efforts by Congress to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 virus,” Schweizer writes. “With much of the evidence pointing to the possibility of a lab leak of the virus in Wuhan Pelosi ordered the Democrats in Congress not to cooperate with any efforts to investigate the matter.”
Pelosi had agreed with House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to impanel a special committee of Congress to investigate China, something McCarthy worked for over a year on before Pelosi withdrew Democrat support in early 2020 as the first case of coronavirus devastated the United States for a pandemic that continues to this day. McCarthy, for his part, continued forward with a Republican-only commission to investigate China; and that panel produced a report in the lead-up to the 2020 election. McCarthy has said that if and when Republicans retake the House majority after the 2022 midterm elections–and thereby retire Pelosi as Speaker, who is using her position to stand in the way of holding China accountable–that he intends to create a select committee on China in the Congress next year.
Pelosi announced on Tuesday that, unlike 29 and counting other House Democrats, she intends to seek reelection in 2022.