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New emails add evidence McAuliffe pressed U.S. officials to approve GreenTech funding

By   /   October 8, 2013  /   News  /   3 Comments

Part 64 of 76 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul

EMAIL TRAFFIC: Terry McAuliffe is flanked by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, left, and Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Douglas Smith.

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org

ALEXANDRIA – Terry McAuliffe’s effort to press top federal officials on behalf of his troubled electric car company was wider and deeper than previously revealed, emails obtained by Watchdog.org show.

The emails – among McAuliffe and top-level Department of Homeland Security officials – include dire warnings that GreenTech Automotive‘s Mississippi plant would shut down within hours if officials failed to approve foreign investors’ visa applications.


The emails came in a string beginning with McAuliffe, then chairman of GreenTech, and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s chief of staff, Noah Kroloff, on Nov. 16, 2012. The subject line: “Further to our conversation today re USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) and GreenTech Automotive.”

The emails were obtained from USCIS through the Freedom of Information Act. The agency refused to provide notes of telephone conversations referenced in the emails.

In one email, McAuliffe thanked Kroloff “for taking the time to discuss our concerns regarding the timeliness of USCIS’ review of our investors’ EB-5 petitions.”

“GreenTech relies on funding from EB-5 investors to grow our electric-car business and create jobs in Mississippi. I would appreciate any assistance you may be able to provide with regard to this matter,” McAuliffe wrote.

McAuliffe registered his concerns five months before his company sued Watchdog. In its April lawsuit, GTA asserted that the EB-5 visa-investor program was not a major funding source, and blamed Watchdog’s news coverage — not delays at USCIS — for damaging relations with investors.

The lawsuit also contended that GreenTech was on track to build neighborhood electric vehicles in Mississippi.

Yet the emails between Kroloff and Assistant DHS Secretary Douglas Smith on Feb. 1 alluded to funding problems at GTA. Smith related that the company threatened a shutdown if EB-5 applications were not approved immediately.

“Any way you can kick Ali (USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas) into gear? If this doesn’t get resolved by COB (close of business) today, the (Mississippi) plant will have to shut down and lay off 100 people on Monday,” Smith wrote to Kroloff.

After he was “looped in,” Mayorkas responded via email the same day, stating, “I cannot weigh in. It would be inappropriate for me to do so.”

Smith responded with a slightly different request: “Ali, it is not about weighing in to tell (USCIS adjudicators) which way to decide, it’s weighing in to get it done one way or another. People have a right to expect we can make a decision faster then [sic] a year.”

Mayorkas testified before a Senate committee earlier this year that he did not put his “thumb on the scale of justice” to help GreenTech.

He did acknowledge meeting privately with McAuliffe to discuss GreenTech’s concerns. Mayorkas said GreenTech and its funding arm, Gulf Coast Funds Management, were among the most persistent complainers about EB-5 processing.

Watchdog has reported that McAuliffe, a well-connected Democratic Party fundraiser now running for governor of Virginia, used various Obama administration officials to get his pleas heard. Gulf Coast is headed by Anthony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s younger brother.

The GreenTech/Gulf Coast cash-for-visa financing currently is the target of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

USCIS spokesman Chris Bentley declined to comment on the emails.

DHS spokesman Peter Boogaard’s email account generated this automatic reply: “Due to the current federal funding hiatus, I will not be able to return emails or telephone calls until I return to duty upon conclusion of the funding hiatus.”

Kenric Ward is chief of Watchdog’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at [email protected] or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward


Part of 76 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul
  1. VA: As he runs for governor, McAuliffe wheels and deals electric cars in Mississippi
  2. VA: Media echo Watchdog exclusive on McAuliffe’s electric car maneuvers
  3. No news here: PolitFact brands Terry McAuliffe’s electric-car claim ‘false’
  4. Experts question source of McAuliffe car-company funding
  5. Terry McAuliffe on business ventures: ‘Some work, some don’t’
  6. How McAuliffe’s car company failed the Virginia test, landed in Mississippi
  7. Virginia official wants probe of McAuliffe company ‘visa-for-sale’ program
  8. McAuliffe car company sues Watchdog in libel claim
  9. Barack Obama’s GreenTech connection: Rick Wade
  10. Silence, secrecy, cops follow GreenTech’s China deal
  11. McAuliffe hones China’s crony-capitalism model in U.S.
  12. Promises keep Tunica County afloat
  13. McAuliffe company’s China hook-up: Will it work?
  14. McAuliffe car lags in Domino’s delivery
  15. McAuliffe car co. parent in off-shore tax shelter
  16. Lawmaker gives feds one more week for EB-5 answers
  17. Bolling: McAuliffe’s Mississippi package ‘attractive’
  18. Inside, execs knew McAuliffe plan had ‘substantial risk’
  19. Union darling McAuliffe and his non-union car company
  20. Did Clinton aid the birth of ‘McAuliffe’ car company?
  21. McAuliffe feels heat over GreenTech resignation
  22. TV report: One year later, ‘party is over’ at GreenTech
  23. Months after he said he left company, McAuliffe kept talking GreenTech
  24. Clinton connection: More money for McAuliffe
  25. Terry McAuliffe used loophole to avoid key SEC oversight of his car company
  26. VA officials: McAuliffe green car more politics than biz
  27. McAuliffe car company announces it’s ready to roll — again
  28. Before Watchdog, McAuliffe blamed federal officials for money trouble
  29. McAuliffe gets cash from GreenTech exec, board members
  30. Watchdog report on McAuliffe spurs FOI request to Homeland Security
  31. McAuliffe leaves GreenTech questions hanging at debate
  32. Totally wired: McAuliffe went to Napolitano to expedite company funding
  33. McAuliffe bragged about GreenTech’s cash position while begging feds for faster processing of ‘cash for visas’
  34. Investigation targets Homeland official’s relationship to McAuliffe company
  35. Even before news of federal probe, McAuliffe ducked GreenTech questions
  36. McAuliffe company pressed Homeland official on 81 investor visas
  37. Rodham company sought visa for controversial Chinese exec
  38. Immigration official says he met with McAuliffe to discuss visas for foreign investors
  39. Whiners: Mayorkas says Gulf Coast ‘continues to complain’
  40. VIDEO: Ex-GreenTech employee says little happened at Horn Lake plant
  41. Online ad to Terry McAuliffe: Drop your lawsuit
  42. National security on ‘hold’: Lawmakers press McAuliffe for answers
  43. Citizens United documentary film delves into McAuliffe, GreenTech
  44. VIDEO: Terry McAuliffe’s 15 million-square-foot car plant … in China
  45. Feds call McAuliffe car company’s use of investment program ‘possible fraud’
  46. GreenTech courted Obama’s Solyndra aide
  47. GOP legislators call for McAuliffe to answer GreenTech questions
  48. McAuliffe ‘desperate’ over documentary, Citizens United says
  49. GreenTech weighed Fisker-style federal loan
  50. Group tells Terry: Follow ‘McAuliffe Standard’ on disclosure
  51. Car and Driver races into GreenTech controversy
  52. Congressman: McAuliffe owes Virginians explanation about White House meeting
  53. Feds loosen oversight as McAuliffe car company makes mysterious management change
  54. GreenTech execs use Times and ABC to throw McAuliffe under the (non-electric) bus
  55. Aide in union contribution swap hosts California fund-raiser for McAuliffe
  56. Despite denials, docs show McAuliffe company asked feds to fast-track visa for investor tied to spy list
  57. Former Democrat Party director was on GreenTech payroll
  58. More bad news for McAuliffe car company as GreenTech China venture stalls
  59. Clinton Foundation posts deficits on McAuliffe’s watch
  60. VIDEO: GreenTech record dogs McAuliffe at energy forum
  61. Auto industry expert labels McAuliffe electric car ‘preposterous’
  62. Democratic leaders have their own Bain pain in Mideast private equity deal
  63. Hillary PAC adviser served as GreenTech spokeswoman
  64. New emails add evidence McAuliffe pressed U.S. officials to approve GreenTech funding
  65. After endorsement, Post shrinks facts to cover Terry McAuliffe
  66. Ties that bind: Following the McAuliffe-Clinton money trail
  67. McAuliffe tilts at windmills; Chinese venture goes bust
  68. Federal investigations cast shadow over McAuliffe on Election Day
  69. DHS inspector over GreenTech-McAuliffe case is under investigation
  70. McAuliffe names former GreenTech employee secretary of commonwealth
  71. McAuliffe lawyers, accountants sort GreenTech stock amid federal investigations
  72. Nuking filibusters, Dems clear way for Mayorkas at Homeland Security
  73. U.S. judge hands Watchdog a victory over VA governor’s green-car company
  74. Attorney: McAuliffe is ‘100 percent divested’ of GreenTech
  75. Investigation finds Mayorkas used visa program to help White House allies
  76. Criminal investigation sought in McAuliffe-Mayorkas dealings


Kenric Ward was a former San Antonio-based reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Dave

    After reading this piece and previous so-called revelations about McAuliffe’s efforts to secure approval for EB-5 investors, there doesn’t seem to be any “there” there. What business person seeking investors in a new enterprise and needing some sort of government approval wouldn’t lobby whoever they thought would be helpful? If what McAuliffe did was illegal, deceitful, or just, in general, underhanded, how is it different from hundreds of other transactions that go on in a mixed economy between private enterprise and government at all levels all the time. Mostly, it is considered business as usual until someone focuses on a particular series of transactions to make a political point like the writers of this Watchdog item.

  • Kenric Ward

    As noted, the Obama administration’s SEC is investigating GreenTech’s funding operation.

  • SixSixSix

    Give it a rest boys. The Republican Neo-Confederate insurrectionists in Congress have sunk the hopes of all Republicans outside the deepest South. How ironic, the Virginia is now so purple. Perhaps even loyal to the Union this time around.