On August 2, we reported that The Washington Post broke news of Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, Terry McAuliffe, being investigated by the SEC for his business dealings with GreenTech Automotive. This scandal is not going anywhere, as more newspapers throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia continue to criticize McAuliffe’s business dealings.
The Roanoke Times published an editorial on August 6, 2013 citing how McAuliffe’s campaign has been tainted by the recent SEC investigations.
Instead of issuing carefully parsed statements, McAuliffe should stand before the press and fully answer questions about GreenTech’s recruitment of foreign investors and his meetings with homeland security officials to discuss the EB-5 program. The political pitfalls of waiting and reacting to a slow drip of unsavory revelations should be apparent to anyone who has watched Gov. Bob McDonnell’s clumsy handling of his ongoing gifts scandal.
Today, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has another editorial ripping into McAuliffe’s campaign. It is worth reading, especially since it highlights when McAuliffe was chair of the Democratic National Committee calling the Bush campaign out on the investigations into Harken Energy back in 2002, only to have an investigation on his own company, GreenTech Automotive.
The SEC has begun an inquiry into GreenTech. Regarding that, McAuliffe is doing his best imitation of Sgt. Schultz from the old “Hogan’s Heroes” sitcom: “I know nuffink!” The public, however, now knows more than McAuliffe might wish it to. Among other things, it now knows:
• Despite generous assistance from state and local government in Mississippi, the Tunica site where GreenTech’s plant is supposed to be cranking out hundreds of cars a week by now remains a barren patch of dirt.
• The holding company for GreenTech, Capital Wealth Holdings, is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
• A former employee accuses the company’s leadership of being “more interested in getting green cards (for investors) than in making an investment.” The employee might be disgruntled. But his concern was shared by Mike Lehmkuhler, an official with the Virginia Economic Development Project. “The biggest concern we have at the moment,” he wrote, “is the possibility that (GreenTech’s) access to the investors’ money is more important than the viability of the project.”
• McAuliffe told Virginia economic-development officials he was considering factory sites in Mississippi, but wanted to find a suitable site in Virginia “for political reasons.”
• Virginia officials said they had “no reason . . . to believe there’s validity to the job-creation numbers.”
• Gulf Coast Management, a sister corporation, tried to obtain an EB-5 visa – essentially, an immigration visa offered in exchange for investment in a U.S. company – for Zhenjun Zhang, vice president of the Chinese company Huawei Technologies. “If Huawei Technologies sounds familiar,” says ABC News, “it’s because the Obama campaign featured the company in an anti-Romney ad during the 2012 campaign. In the ad, using quotes from The Washington Times and CBS News’ ‘60 Minutes,’ a voice-over calls Huawei Technologies ‘up to its eyeballs with the Chinese military’ and (says) that the company ‘raised concerns about national security, Chinese espionage.’ ”
• According to The New York Times, McAuliffe was able to arrange a meeting with immigration officials who oversee the EB-5 program because of his political connections. “Terry knew somebody in Biden’s office, and that’s how the meeting got coordinated,” said (GreenTech) lawyer Stephen Yale-Loehr.
• Charles Wang, current president of GreenTech, has told The New York Times “he wishes he had never gone into business with a politically connected partner. ‘I learned a lot of things,’ he said. ‘Politicians or people with political backgrounds are dangerous to business.’ ”
Will McAuliffe ever come clean, or do scandals continue to erupt until Election Day?