The wheels of government grind slowly. Very slowly.
Frank Dunlevy, John M. Barger and Christopher Bancroft Burnham were originally nominated by President Trump in May 2020 to serve on the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB).
President Donald Trump reintroduced the nominations of three Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board members in January 2021. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the three nominees last September. The Senate never took action to confirm the appointments before the expiration of that Congress.
President Biden has now pulled the three nominations to the five-member Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
The three nominees were each nominated to fill seats held by board members with expired terms.
The Thrift Savings Plan Board currently has four members. Chairman Michael D. Kennedy resigned in June after Frank Dunlevy was nominated to replace him for a term expiring in September 2022. Dunlevy is president of investment funds and counselor to the CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). He previously had similar duties at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) before its transformation to DFC.
John Barger, managing director of NorthernCross Partners, an investment advisory firm, was nominated to replace David A. Jones, the FRTIB’s acting chairman. That term expires in October 2022.
Christopher Bancroft Burnham is the former treasurer for the State of Connecticut and held senior positions in the US State Department and the United Nations. He was a co-founder and currently chairman and chief executive officer of Cambridge Global Capital, LLC, headquartered in Washington, D.C. He was nominated to replace Ronald McCray for a term expiring in September 2024.
President Trump’s nominations were originally submitted to the Senate for confirmation after a decision by the FRTIB to invest more of the TSP’s I Fund in Chinese companies. The I Fund is a core fund in the Thrift Savings Plan and invests in foreign corporations.
The decision to invest more investment money from federal employees and military personnel in Chinese companies created an issue. With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in China, spending about $50 billion in TSP investments in China was controversial.
Some former military commanders objected to the FRTIB’s decision in part as some of the TSP money would be invested in Chinese companies including “weapons manufacturers, U.S.-sanctioned entities and other malevolent enterprises of the Chinese Communist Party.”