MINOT, N.D. — I've argued, for more than a year now, that the North Dakota leaders charged with oversight of the state's Legacy Fund are just rubber stamps for the out-of-state consultants contracted to manage that money.

A series of reports from local CBS affiliate KXNews reveals just how accurate that charge is.

Rep. Keith Kempenich, a Republican from Bowman, is the current chairman of the Legacy and Budget Stabilization Fund Advisory Board. When KXNews sat down with him to discuss some of the Legacy Fund's more controversial investments into puppet companies that carry out the censorship and oppression dictated by the Chinese Communist Party, Kempenich pleaded ignorance.

“What is the State Investment Board doing about not investing in accounts that are connected to Alibaba, which was banned in the United States by the Trump Administration, and investments that are linked to the Chinese communist party and the Russian Government?” reporter Josh Meny asked him.

“Well, like I said yeah. Alibaba, Wahoo was another, you know and we weren’t in any of those, so I can tell you that right now,” Kempenich responded.

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That isn't true. As of the 2020/2021 fiscal year, the Legacy Fund has almost $20 million investment in Alibaba.

In the 2019/2020 fiscal year it was the Legacy Fund's largest foreign holding and its eighth-largest holding overall.

“Did you know that the Legacy Fund...was invested into accounts linked to the Chinese communist party and even linked to an account that facilitates the oppression of the Uhyger people in China?” Meny asked.

“No, and see that was one of the things that like I said we don’t get into those details when we’re, and truthfully I’m guessing that we probably don’t have much in China right now and stuff on that,” Kempenich responded.

Again, that's not true. The state has $26 million invested into Tencent, a tech industry giant that has been used by the Chinese regime to oppress the country's Uyghur population.

Later in the interview, Kempenich admitted that maybe he kinda-sorta did know about these companies, but continued to insist the state wasn't invested in them.

“The companies in question that were kinda brought to light, you know last year, that are kinda on a watch list and stuff, we weren’t invested in,” Kempenich said, possibly referring to my report from last October dealing with the Legacy Fund's many objectionable investments.


There are two problems exposed by this remarkable interview.

The first is that North Dakota tax dollars are being used to benefit some very bad regimes in the world.

The second is that the elected leaders charged with overseeing the Legacy Fund, including Rep. Kempenich and the State Investment Board, seem to be taking a don't-ask-don't-tell position on it, preferring to let the consultants do as they please.

Again, I've been arguing that these elected officials are little more than rubber stamps for the consultants.

Given this interview, how could anyone believe otherwise?

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.