New Jersey Democrat Amy Kennedy, who has attacked President Donald Trump's hardline economic approach to China, owns up to $75,000 in investments in China-based companies, including some backed by the Communist regime.
Kennedy—who is married to Patrick Kennedy, son of late senator Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.), and running for Congress in New Jersey's competitive Second Congressional District—owns stock in five companies headquartered in China, including at least one state-owned insurance firm. Meanwhile, she has advocated for easing economic pressure on China on the campaign trail. Her campaign site accuses President Donald Trump and Republicans of engaging in "reckless and irrational trade wars" with Beijing and calls to expand trade with China.
The companies Kennedy is invested in could benefit from a less forceful approach to China's economy. University of California San Diego political economist Victor Shih told NPR late last year that Trump's policies were having "a pretty major impact" on the Chinese economy. Vipshop, a Guangzhou-based discount e-commerce site in which Kennedy holds stock, for example, has seen its shares fall during Trump's crackdown on the country.
Kennedy's financial disclosure form also shows investments in the China Life Insurance Company, which is 70 percent state-owned. The Democrat is also invested in China Maple Leaf Educational Systems, China YuHua Education Corporation, and Hong Kong-based Sun Art Retail, which works with e-commerce. Kennedy holds up to $15,000 worth of stock in each of the Chinese companies.
Kennedy's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the investments.
Trump's approach to China, ranging from tariffs to criticism over the country's coronavirus response and human rights abuses, is among the biggest issues of the 2020 election. Kennedy's advocacy for restoring trade with the Communist regime matches the Democratic Party's platform. On her campaign website, Kennedy calls for "opening up access to markets, building alliances, and promoting our agricultural products abroad," saying, "We can stand up to countries like China while also putting our workers and farmers first."
Kennedy, a former teacher, is locked in a tight race against Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R., N.J.), who was elected as a Democrat in 2018 but switched to the Republican Party earlier this year. The race is considered a toss-up by a number of election forecasters, including Cook Political Report and Inside Elections.