EXCLUSIVE: Two Republican members of Congress are demanding answers from top financial regulators concerning the possibility Americans' financial data may have been, or is at risk of being, exposed to members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) through two widely-used stock trading platforms operating within the U.S.
In a Wednesday letter to the heads of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., called on the two agencies to ensure Chinese-linked companies Webull Financial, LLC and Moomoo, Inc. are complying with American laws and regulations when it comes to protecting American consumers' data.
"Webull and Moomoo collect highly sensitive personal information from millions of their U.S. customers, including personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, mailing addresses, and financial account data," Tuberville and Banks wrote in the letter.
"We write today to once again call attention to the potential danger Webull and MooMoo pose to Americans’ financial and information security, as well as request answers from the SEC on its work to mitigate that threat," they added.
According to Tuberville and Banks, Webull and Moomoo are owned by Chinese companies with close ties to Xiaomi and Tencent, two Chinese telecom giants that have reportedly aided the CCP "in its efforts to surveil and suppress its citizens."
The letter also said that Webull employs eight active FINRA-registered representatives who are located in China but are required to comply with all SEC and FINRA rules. However, their presence in China, the letter notes, raises concerns over the ability of those agencies to ensure those rules are being complied with.
It added that allowing Chinese-owned broker-dealers with representatives in China to operate on "a level playing field" with U.S. brokerage firms appeared to be inconsistent with Congress' bipartisan efforts to obtain access to audit documents of U.S.-listed Chinese companies, something it said Chinese law has prevented.
Tuberville and Banks gave a deadline of May 31 for the SEC and FINRA to respond to the letter. They also sent the letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
In a statement, Tuberville emphasized that communist China is "the biggest threat facing our country today."
"China doesn’t need a spy balloon to steal our information — they’ve got spies in the smartphones of millions of Americans, harvesting valuable information every second. The United States must protect the personal data of our citizens from falling into the hands of our greatest adversary," he said.