By Tori Richards | Watchdog.org
Government documents contradict claims made by GreenTech Automotive officials that they did nothing to press federal officials to approve the visa application of Zhenjun Zhang, a foreign investor with ties to a Chinese company on a U.S. spy list.
Documents show that attorney Simone Williams and CEO Anthony Rodham, executives at GreenTech’s investor relations arm, wrote on Jan. 29 to USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas seeking to fast track stalled petitions for foreign investors under the government’s EB-5 program. One of those that had been languishing was Zhang’s, according to government documents.
A week later, in a Feb. 7 email recently released by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, an unidentified U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services official detailed the security risks associated with Zhang’s application. The official urged colleagues to consider information about Zhang’s company, telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies, before “granting the expedite request.” The official recommended analysts review “several classified reports that are directly related.”
But in an Aug. 9 story that appeared on ABC’s web site, Williams, who works for Gulf Coast Funds Management, said the company did not ask officials to fast-track the application.
“His application is still in the relatively early stage of the process,” Williams told ABC.
She said GreenTech has “no information” that applicant Zhang is a security threat, and said his pending visa is the “typical petition, (with) normal processing times.”
During a July 25 Senate confirmation hearing, Alejandro Mayorkas, now Barack Obama’s choice to for assistant director of the Department of Homeland Security, was grilled on EB-5, the government’s cash-for-visas program. Around that time, Grassley released nearly 100 pages of letters and emails showing his quest to investigate Mayorkas’ purported lax handling of immigration affairs, including those of GreenTech and Gulf Coast.
According to an Oct. 8, 2012, report issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence:
“(G)iants like Huawei … provide a wealth of opportunities for Chinese intelligence agencies to insert malicious hardware or software implants into critical telecommunications components and systems.
“It appears that under Chinese law … Huawei would be obligated to cooperate with any request by the Chinese government to use their systems or access them for malicious purposes under the guise of state security.
“Access to U.S. telecommunications infrastructure also allows China to engage in undetected espionage against the United States government and private sector interests.”
But the most damning passage of the report said:
“Inserting malicious hardware or software implants into Chinese manufactured telecommunications components and systems headed for U.S. customers could allow Beijing to shut down or degrade critical national security systems in a time of crisis or war.”
Huawei, which has a Chinese Communist Party Committee as part of its corporate structure, told House members it could not provide requested documentation such as a list of Communist Party member names or their duties without approval by the Chinese government, the report said.
The committee accused Huawei officials of a “potential pattern of unethical and illegal behavior… allegations that of themselves create serious doubts about whether Huawei can be trusted to operate in the United States.”
Whistleblowers who worked at Huawei gave the House committee “credible reports” that Huawei engaged in immigration violations, bribery, corruption, discrimination and copyright infringement, among other illegalities, the report said.
Gulf Coast Funds Management itself is the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe to determine whether the company is misrepresenting the EB-5 law to potential investors. EB-5 requires at least $500,000 of at-risk capita,l but in at least one case it issued a promissory note and has stated in a training manual that the investment can be backed up by stock in the company.
Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe owns GreenTech, but has attempted to distance himself from the fray. In April, the company abruptly announced McAuliffe had resigned as chairman in December. He remains a major stockowner.
McAuliffe’s connection to this mess hasn’t been lost on tea party members in Loudoun County, Va., a key campaign battleground in the governor’s race.
“This campaign has a taint of corruption. He will get money from any source,” said the group’s co-chairman, Chris Minor.
“It goes back to Clinton when he (McAuliffe) was the money man to his campaign and it was discovered that it was receiving illegal donations from China in the millions of dollars,” Minor said. “His lack of scruples and ethics are evident in everything he touches from his time as financier to the Clintons to his campaign now. He will do anything to reach his ultimate goal.”
Contact Tori Richards at email@example.com or on twitter @newswriter2.
- VA: As he runs for governor, McAuliffe wheels and deals electric cars in Mississippi
- VA: Media echo Watchdog exclusive on McAuliffe’s electric car maneuvers
- No news here: PolitFact brands Terry McAuliffe’s electric-car claim ‘false’
- Experts question source of McAuliffe car-company funding
- Terry McAuliffe on business ventures: ‘Some work, some don’t’
- How McAuliffe’s car company failed the Virginia test, landed in Mississippi
- Virginia official wants probe of McAuliffe company ‘visa-for-sale’ program
- McAuliffe car company sues Watchdog in libel claim
- Barack Obama’s GreenTech connection: Rick Wade
- Silence, secrecy, cops follow GreenTech’s China deal
- McAuliffe hones China’s crony-capitalism model in U.S.
- Promises keep Tunica County afloat
- McAuliffe company’s China hook-up: Will it work?
- McAuliffe car lags in Domino’s delivery
- McAuliffe car co. parent in off-shore tax shelter
- Lawmaker gives feds one more week for EB-5 answers
- Bolling: McAuliffe’s Mississippi package ‘attractive’
- Inside, execs knew McAuliffe plan had ‘substantial risk’
- Union darling McAuliffe and his non-union car company
- Did Clinton aid the birth of ‘McAuliffe’ car company?
- McAuliffe feels heat over GreenTech resignation
- TV report: One year later, ‘party is over’ at GreenTech
- Months after he said he left company, McAuliffe kept talking GreenTech
- Clinton connection: More money for McAuliffe
- Terry McAuliffe used loophole to avoid key SEC oversight of his car company
- VA officials: McAuliffe green car more politics than biz
- McAuliffe car company announces it’s ready to roll — again
- Before Watchdog, McAuliffe blamed federal officials for money trouble
- McAuliffe gets cash from GreenTech exec, board members
- Watchdog report on McAuliffe spurs FOI request to Homeland Security
- McAuliffe leaves GreenTech questions hanging at debate
- Totally wired: McAuliffe went to Napolitano to expedite company funding
- McAuliffe bragged about GreenTech’s cash position while begging feds for faster processing of ‘cash for visas’
- Investigation targets Homeland official’s relationship to McAuliffe company
- Even before news of federal probe, McAuliffe ducked GreenTech questions
- McAuliffe company pressed Homeland official on 81 investor visas
- Rodham company sought visa for controversial Chinese exec
- Immigration official says he met with McAuliffe to discuss visas for foreign investors
- Whiners: Mayorkas says Gulf Coast ‘continues to complain’
- VIDEO: Ex-GreenTech employee says little happened at Horn Lake plant
- Online ad to Terry McAuliffe: Drop your lawsuit
- National security on ‘hold’: Lawmakers press McAuliffe for answers
- Citizens United documentary film delves into McAuliffe, GreenTech
- VIDEO: Terry McAuliffe’s 15 million-square-foot car plant … in China
- Feds call McAuliffe car company’s use of investment program ‘possible fraud’
- GreenTech courted Obama’s Solyndra aide
- GOP legislators call for McAuliffe to answer GreenTech questions
- McAuliffe ‘desperate’ over documentary, Citizens United says
- GreenTech weighed Fisker-style federal loan
- Group tells Terry: Follow ‘McAuliffe Standard’ on disclosure
- Car and Driver races into GreenTech controversy
- Congressman: McAuliffe owes Virginians explanation about White House meeting
- Feds loosen oversight as McAuliffe car company makes mysterious management change
- GreenTech execs use Times and ABC to throw McAuliffe under the (non-electric) bus
- Aide in union contribution swap hosts California fund-raiser for McAuliffe
- Despite denials, docs show McAuliffe company asked feds to fast-track visa for investor tied to spy list
- Former Democrat Party director was on GreenTech payroll
- More bad news for McAuliffe car company as GreenTech China venture stalls
- Clinton Foundation posts deficits on McAuliffe’s watch
- VIDEO: GreenTech record dogs McAuliffe at energy forum
- Auto industry expert labels McAuliffe electric car ‘preposterous’
- Democratic leaders have their own Bain pain in Mideast private equity deal
- Hillary PAC adviser served as GreenTech spokeswoman
- New emails add evidence McAuliffe pressed U.S. officials to approve GreenTech funding
- After endorsement, Post shrinks facts to cover Terry McAuliffe
- Ties that bind: Following the McAuliffe-Clinton money trail
- McAuliffe tilts at windmills; Chinese venture goes bust
- Federal investigations cast shadow over McAuliffe on Election Day
- DHS inspector over GreenTech-McAuliffe case is under investigation
- McAuliffe names former GreenTech employee secretary of commonwealth
- McAuliffe lawyers, accountants sort GreenTech stock amid federal investigations
- Nuking filibusters, Dems clear way for Mayorkas at Homeland Security
- U.S. judge hands Watchdog a victory over VA governor’s green-car company
- Attorney: McAuliffe is ‘100 percent divested’ of GreenTech