MATTHEW BOYLE 8 Mar 2021Washington, DC
Democrat Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) has on his three most recent financial disclosure forms filed with the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives reported holdings worth more than $100,000 in the Bank of China, a state-owned bank run by the Chinese Communist Party.
On the second page of his calendar year 2017, 2018, and 2019 disclosure documents, Gonzalez reported the holdings valued at between $100,001 and $250,000 in the Bank of China. Each report includes a disclosure that Gonzalez earned between $2,501 and $5,000 in interest each year from the Bank of China account.
The congressman has, according to the disclosures, other holdings worth more that paid less in interest. His 2017 report, filed in 2018, for instance revealed he had between $250,001 and $500,000 in an “Everbank” account that he reported collected no interest. His 2018 disclosure report revealed an account with TIAA Bank worth between $250,001 and $500,000 that collected only between $201 and $1,000 in interest. There are others similar to these in all three reports, but the Bank of China holding seems to pay out the best for the congressman according to the financial disclosure forms. On all three reports—2017, 2018, and 2019—no other holding or account paid out as high a level of interest, or unearned income, for the congressman according to these disclosures—meaning his investment in a state-run bank in a nation that is hostile to the United States is particularly lucrative for him.
The arrangement is also beneficial to the Bank of China, and ultimately the Chinese Communist Party, as like with any other bank the deposit the congressman has placed in this account can be used by the Bank of China for other purposes and initiatives like perhaps possibly loans to other enterprises backing Beijing’s vision through things like the Belt and Road Initiative–China’s geopolitical push for global economic domination. What’s more, according to the Bank of China website, there are only three cities in the United States with branches–one in New York, one in Chicago, and one in Los Angeles–meaning that there is no Bank of China branch in Gonzalez’s Texas district.
The financial disclosure documents are reported by members of Congress in ranges in terms of the value of assets and the income earned from them. That means that this Bank of China account that Gonzalez has reported for his last three disclosure reports yields at least 1 percent annual interest—if the actual amount of unearned income, or interest, is at the lower end of the reported range at $2,501 and the actual account value is at the higher end of the reported range at $250,000. But if the inverse were true, that the account value is at the lower end of the reported range at $100,000 and the interest income were at the higher end of the reported range at $5,000 then that means the interest could be as high as close to 5 percent. Either way, between 1 and 5 percent in unearned annual interest income on any holding is unusually high for any account.
More about the account and interest rate is impossible to find out without more documents and cooperation from Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s congressional office has not replied to multiple requests for comment from Breitbart News about his Bank of China account, and has not responded to requests for an interview with the congressman.
While Gonzalez himself is not answering questions about this at this time, when asked about these revelations his GOP opponent in last year’s election Monica de la Cruz-Hernandez told Breitbart News she finds this disturbing.
“Vicente Gonzalez’s six-figure account with the Bank of China is shocking and disturbing,” de la Cruz-Hernandez told Breitbart News. “It’s simple: a United States Representative should never have such close financial ties to the state bank of our country’s greatest adversary. This is yet another reason why our district needs a new representative who shares our South Texas values – not China’s.”
Part of why Gonzalez’s financial arrangement with the Bank of China may have gone unnoticed until now—it has been in his financial disclosures for three years already but this is the first time it is coming to light in a political news sense—is because his district has been historically safe for Democrats. Since its inception in the early 20th century back in 1903, no Republican has ever represented the 15th congressional district of Texas. After decades of Democrat control, this district had been represented by the longtime infamous late Democrat Rep. Kika De La Garza (D-TX) for more than 30 years—from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s—until now former Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) took it over. Gonzalez was first elected to the seat in 2016, and is currently serving his third term in office.
Oftentimes throughout history Republicans would either not run someone at all for the seat, or they would only put up a nominal challenge that ultimately failed. That changed in 2020, when De La Cruz-Hernandez ran against Gonzalez and nearly beat him in a surprisingly close race. She came within just about 6,000 votes—dropping Gonzalez’s total votes down to just 50.05 percent of the total in the district. Her 47,06 percent shocked the political world and threw a district Democrats have never lost—and pundits and prognosticators considered safe for Democrats in perpetuity—into a possible tossup column down the road. Republicans are thrilled that De La Cruz-Hernandez is running again in 2022, part of a growing trend accelerated it seems by now former President Donald Trump—seen in Florida as well as in Texas—of Republicans over-performing expectations with Hispanic voters. Gonzalez appears on a list of 47 Democrats the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC)–the campaign arm for House Republicans–is targeting in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections, hoping to beat him there. To retake the House majority, Republicans only need to flip a net five seats back from Democrats after huge gains by House Republicans in the 2020 congressional elections. A major part of the reason why Republicans are winning more so among Hispanics like in this district than they did before is because of their efforts to tie Democrats to socialists and authoritarian regimes like the socialist regimes in Cuba or Venezuela, corrupt governments in central American countries, and even more importantly the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing.
Gonzalez had signed a letter from the Blue Dog Coalition—a group of self-proclaimed “moderate” Democrats—last May claiming he wanted to be tough on China. Writing about the U.S.-China relationship, one the letter that Gonzalez signed claimed is “arguably the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world,” Gonzalez and his fellow Blue Dog Democrats advocated for standing up against the Chinese Communist Party whenever Americans are threatened by it.
“We should stand up for American lives, interests and values whenever they are threatened, while avoiding overheated rhetoric that could undermine those goals,” Gonzalez and his fellow Blue Dog Democrats wrote.
The letter also said that these Democrats “have profound concerns about the direction of Chinese policy under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), especially its foreign and defense policy, its trade policy, and its human rights record,” concerns only intensified by the CCP’s “mishandling of the COVID-19 epidemic.”
As Gonzalez and his office were uncooperative with Breitbart News for this investigation, and he has not yet filed his 2020 financial disclosure form—it is not due until May 2021—it is unclear if in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic he kept his Bank of China account in 2020.
The fact that a Democrat congressman has such a high-yielding account with the Bank of China is as such in and of itself significant. The Bank of China literally openly admits on its website that it is a “wholly state-owned commercial bank” and has been since the mid-1990s. The Bank of China website also says that the Chinese Communist Party enterprise believes in the “adoration of the nation in its soul” and that it is China’s “most globalised and integrated bank” with “a well-established global service network with institutions set up across the Chinese mainland as well as in 57 countries and regions.”
The website also pledges allegiance to Chinese dictator Xi Jinping, and his Communist agenda—and says that its goal is to help implement this Chinese Communist Party worldview worldwide and in China.
“In face of the period of historic opportunities for great achievements, as a large state-owned commercial bank, the Bank will follow Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, persistently enable advancement through technology, drive development through innovation, deliver performance through transformation and enhance strength through reform, in an effort to build BOC into a world-class bank in the new era,” the Bank of China says on its website. “It will make a greater contribution to developing a modernised economy and to the efforts to realise the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and the aspirations of the people to live a better life.”
The “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” part of that quote on the Bank of China website is a reference to a formal and official Chinese Communist Party political doctrine introduced in 2018. Known as “Xi Jinping Thought” for short, the New York Times described the vision as China’s “new official political doctrine” which Communist leaders have plastered “everywhere.”
“Schools, newspapers, television, the internet, billboards and banners all trumpet the ideas of Mr. Xi, the country’s president and Communist Party leader,” the New York Times’ Chris Buckley wrote of the ideology and doctrine in a February 2018 report. “Officially known as ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,’ the ideology will soon be given an even more prominent platform: the preamble of China’s Constitution. Boiled down, the doctrine is a blueprint for consolidating and strengthening power at three levels: the nation, the party and Mr. Xi himself. The doctrine, like Mr. Xi, is not going anywhere soon. The Party on Sunday abolished the presidential term limit, meaning Mr. Xi could remain in power indefinitely.”
Despite claiming in that Blue Dog Coalition letter that he signed that he would tough on China, when it comes to actual actions in the House like votes on key legislation, Gonzalez frequently sided with the Chinese Communist Party. For instance, when Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) in May 2019 offered what is called a “Motion to Recommit” (MTR)—a procedure the minority in the House uses to force issue votes after legislation has passed—that would have blocked job transfers to China on a climate bill the Democrat majority passed, Gonzalez joined most of the rest of the House Democrats in voting against the measure.
The legislation was the Climate Action Now Act by the House Democrats—HR 9 in the last Congress—and it had passed the House in May 2019. In response, Barr offered the MTR to alter the legislation after the fact by adding an amendment that would have guaranteed if the U.S. reentered the Paris Climate Accord—which now-President Joe Biden has actually done—that there would not be a net loss of jobs from the U.S. to China as a result.
The MTR failed, with one Republican joining most Democrats in opposing it. Fourteen Democrats sided with 192 House Republicans in supporting the measure though. Gonzalez was not among those Democrats who voted with the Republicans—he voted against protecting U.S. jobs from sliding to China.
Gonzalez also later in 2019 voted against another MTR, this one from then-Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), that would have banned the U.S. Export-Import Bank from lending to Chinese-government controlled entities or to organizations that supported the CCP’s government actions. That MTR also won bipartisan support though, with 194 Republicans voting for it and nine Democrats—Gonzalez not among them—voting for it.