U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is urging President Donald Trump to make regulators delay a decision on the pending bid for Chicago Stock Exchange Inc., with the eventual hope that Trump will block the still-pending deal.
Less than a month after airing his concerns about the possible deal to Securities and Exchange Commission officials, Manchin now hopes Trump will block the investor group's bid, led by China-based Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group.
Manchin plans to introduce legislation amending the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 to preserve a new administration's right of review. He wrote in an Aug. 14 letter that the president's "sweeping powers" to block any deals that may threaten national security "mean little" if the outgoing administration can nullify them.
Manchin's letter comes soon after the SEC again delayed a decision on the bid despite SEC staff recommending an approval. More than 18 months after the bid was first announced, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Commissioners Michael Piwowar and Kara Stein are set to decide on the deal's fate at an undisclosed future date.
In the letter, Manchin called former President Barack Obama's decision to not block the bid following the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States' approval "nothing short of outrageous."
"[China's] sustained efforts to steal intellectual property and state-sponsored cyber-attacks present clear and present threats to our national security," he wrote. "I believe it is highly likely that they will employ similar, deceitful practices to gain an unfair advantage in our financial markets through this acquisition."
Trump has previously criticized the deal, saying in 2016: "China bought the Chicago Stock Exchange — China, a Chinese company. They are taking our jobs. They are taking our wealth. They are taking our base," according to Politico.
The Chicago Stock Exchange accounted for about 0.4% of total U.S. equity trades executed in June. But the deal for the company has been heavily scrutinized in both political and financial circles. Manchin is one of several federal lawmakers who have pressed regulators to block the attempted acquisition, with the majority of concerns hinging on the SEC's ability to regulate the exchange if it is owned by foreign investors.
In an attempt to shore up the deal, the Chicago Stock Exchange proposed a series of corporate governance changes ahead of the SEC's decision such as changing its board structure and ownership and releasing investor certificates signed by each of the prospective owners.
Chicago Stock Exchange had no comment regarding the letter.