U.S. Senator Jim Webb speaks about
the bill he introduced that would prohibit the use of funds for military
operations in Iran without congressional authorization during a news
conference in the Capitol in Washington March 5, 2007.
U.S. Senator Jim Webb asked federal authorities on Wednesday to look into
"national security implications" he said are posed by Chinese government
involvement with Blackstone Group LP as it moves toward a stock offering
expected to raise more than $4 billion.
Webb raised concerns in a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission
Chairman Christopher Cox, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Homeland Security
Secretary Michael Chertoff.
In the letter, Webb said SEC records show Blackstone's holdings include
military and satellite technology companies.
"If true, it is incumbent upon the SEC and the Committee for Foreign
Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to ensure that this technology not be
acquired by the government of China," the Virginia Democrat wrote in the letter.
New York-based Blackstone, one of the nation's largest private equity firms,
agreed in May to sell a $3 billion stake to China's state investment company
ahead of the IPO.
Blackstone declined to comment.
Webb asked the SEC to delay the Blackstone IPO "until such time as serious
questions about this transaction can be carefully examined and resolved."
He said he was concerned about "the enormity of this public offering, and the
large investment from a foreign government."
An SEC spokesman declined to comment.
Webb said the Blackstone matter "falls squarely within CFIUS' mandate to
assess whether foreign investment might threaten national security and to ensure
the protection of sensitive United States information relating to national
defense and critical infrastructure."