By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA – Despite its executives’ assertions that GreenTech Automotive is “not political,” a second Democratic Party operative and current Hillary Clinton PAC adviser worked as a spokeswoman for Terry McAuliffe’s electric car company, a Watchdog.org investigation has discovered.
Tracy Sefl was the corporate contact on a series of GTA press releases in 2010 and 2011, according to documents obtained by Watchdog. She listed a company email address for herself.
A 2011 release from Sefl announced a GreenTech venture to build vehicles in China “later this year (with) a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year.”
Construction on the Inner Mongolia plant has halted and no cars have been produced, Watchdog reported.
Sefl’s news releases do not appear on the GTA website.
A 2007 New York Times article noted the politically savvy Sefl’s “ability to create media ‘without fingerprints.’”
The Times said the former official for the Democratic National Committee, then headed by McAuliffe, had “established a friendly working relationship with (conservative Matt) Drudge — and through whom (Hillary) Clinton’s campaign often worked quietly to open a line of communication.”
The comings and goings of Democratic operatives at McAuliffe’s company illustrate the political wiring of GreenTech. GTA’s funding arm, Gulf Coast Funds Management, is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over use of a investor-visa program and its access to top officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Gulf Coast’s president is Anthony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s younger brother.
Before landing at GreenTech, Sefl was a campaign adviser and spokeswoman for then-New York Gov. David Paterson.
Since leaving GreenTech, Sefl has advised the Ready for Hillary PAC, which promotes Clinton’s presidential prospects. A New York Times Magazine article this month quoted Sefl as saying the super-PAC “offers supporters the all-important link to click on, plus places to convene in both the digital and physical worlds.”
The Hillary PAC is located in McLean, Va., McAuliffe’s hometown.
GreenTech CEO Charles Wang declared last month that his company, which reportedly has around 80 employees, is “not political and has no direct interest in politics.”
The firm, however, referred to McAuliffe as “chairman emeritus” as recently as March — three months after he reportedly stepped away from the company to run for Virginia governor.
The Washington Post this month revealed that GTA bestowed the emeritus title on McAuliffe in a confidential memorandum to prospective GTA investors.
“It recounts his political pedigree in detail, from serving as finance director for Jimmy Carter’s 1980 presidential re-election campaign to breaking fundraising records for the Democratic Party and chairing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign,” the Post reported.
A second McAuliffe associate, Levar Stoney, served as GTA’s director of public and government affairs for 18 months, until December 2012.
As reported by Watchdog, Stoney, another veteran Democratic operative, is now McAuliffe’s deputy campaign manager.
Sefl’s salary at GreenTech could not be determined. She could not be reached through the Hillary PAC.
GreenTech filed an $85 million libel lawsuit against Watchdog in April, alleging that its reporting defamed the company and damaged investor relations.
Kenric Ward is chief of Watchdog’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward
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