Senators Urge Review of Questionable Forbes Acquisition

( – The US Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that direct foreign investment in the United States skyrocketed after Joe Biden assumed office, totaling nearly $333.7 billion for 2021. In 2022, that figure dropped to $177.5 billion but still exceeded the $141.4 billion reported during former President Donald Trump’s last year in office. A couple of top Republican senators recently urged an official review of a questionable acquisition involving Forbes Magazine.

On August 9, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen urging her to review recent efforts to purchase Forbes. The correspondence warned that various business entities with “investment and commercial ties” to the Kremlin and the Chinese Communist Party hoped to acquire the American-based media company.

The Senators warned that a foreign entity’s proposed purchase of the magazine and website had “grave” implications for American national security interests. Elaborating, the letter explained that the Forbes website receives “tens of millions” of monthly page views, particularly among young Americans.

Forbes’ significant market share of youth provided Russian and Chinese officials with a “unique” ability to “collect and store sensitive” information on that demographic. Likewise, foreign governments could leverage their position to influence public opinion among young Americans.

CCP and Russian officials could also use the Forbes reputation and reach to influence voters. This situation could hit critical mass during close elections, as the country has experienced the last couple of cycles.

Equally concerning is the possibility of future censorship of articles critical of the Kremlin and the CCP. For instance, Forbes has spearheaded efforts to shed light on China’s history of human rights abuses, particularly among non-Han Chinese ethnic groups like the Uyghurs. The website also published several articles critical of the CCP’s involvement with TikTok, a social media platform popular with young Americans.

The Senators concluded their letter by advising Yellen that, in their estimation, the potential dangers surrounding the proposed acquisition of Forbes exceed the acceptable risk levels detailed by an executive order signed by Biden in September 2022 and the 2018 Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act.

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