*** IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ***
A must-read new report from The Guardian today revealed that Senator Ron Johnson, a vocal and outspoken critic of Beijing, has “declared $57 million in income in his first 10 years in office in connection to his ownership stake in a company whose growth has closely been linked to China.”
The Guardian: Republican’s wealth boosted by stake in company whose growth linked to China
Financial disclosures show how Ron Johnson’s wealth sharply increased thanks to his holding in Oshkosh-based Pacur
By Stephanie Kirchgaessner
September 13, 2022
- Wisconsin Republican senator Ron Johnson, a vocal critic of Beijing who has vowed to launch investigations into the Biden family’s alleged relationships with Chinese businesses, declared $57m in income in his first 10 years in office in connection to his ownership stake in a company whose growth has closely been linked to China.
- Financial disclosures show the senator’s wealth has sharply increased during his years running for and serving in the Senate thanks to his holding in Oshkosh-based Pacur, a plastics maker where Johnson previously served as top executive.
- A close examination of Johnson’s financial disclosures and other public filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission, legal filings and other public records reveal that Johnson’s wealth was boosted by his company’s ties to another company that was owned and managed by his family, which in turn grew its business in China, acquired businesses in China, and reported having a loan worth tens of millions of dollars from the Bank of China.
- In one case, the company run by Johnson’s family sued the US government to try to press for softer trade relations with Beijing, a position that Johnson himself adopted in a rare break with Trump administration policies.
- Johnson sold his stake in Pacur in 2020, although documents show that an LLC owned by Johnson and his wife, Jane, still receives up to $1m annually through rent and royalties as owners of the building where Pacur operates.
- Pacur was co-founded by Johnson and his brother-in-law in the 1970s. It was in effect closely tied to a larger company called Bemis, which was founded and run by Johnson’s father-in-law, Howard Curler.
- SEC documents show that, from about 1998 to 2010, Bemis paid tens of millions of dollars to Pacur, which was a supplier to Bemis.
- Johnson also personally owned Bemis stock, valued at between $1m and $5.2m on financial disclosure forms. The stock was later gifted to the senator’s family foundation, called the Grammie Jean Foundation.
- Bemis, records show, had a steady and growing presence in China under the leadership of Jeffrey Curler, Howard Curler’s son and Ron Johnson’s brother-in-law.
- The company has plants in China and in 2013, records show, appear to have acquired tens of millions of dollars in Chinese debt in connection to a Chinese acquisition.
- SEC filings show that Bemis also disclosed in 2016 that it had a $50m Bank of China loan.
- Bemis was also active on issues related to trade during Johnson’s Senate tenure.
- In two cases, the group filed suit against the US government’s policies on trade in China, including one suit in 2018.
- In the legal action brought by Bemis and Rollprint Packaging Products, the plaintiffs sued the United States to contest a finding by the International Trade Commission in support of tariffs on China.
- At the same time, Johnson was a vocal critic of US trade policy against China, marking a rare disagreement with Trump.