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Ties that bind: Following the McAuliffe-Clinton money trail

By   /   October 29, 2013  /   No Comments

Part 66 of 74 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul
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STUMPING: Former President Bill Clinton, right, greets Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe during a rally Tuesday at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

 

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As political cronies Bill Clinton and Terry McAuliffe are campaigning together across Virginia this week, their close coupling shows how money can be thicker than blood.

McAuliffe — the self-described “Godzilla” of fundraising — helped Clinton get elected and re-elected to the White House. As booking agent for the Lincoln bedroom, he raked in cash and tightened connections for the Clinton political machine.

McAuliffe even put up $1.35 million toward the purchase of a New York home for Bill and Hillary in 1999, when the Clintons were burdened by legal debts from the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal and Hillary needed to establish residency for a U.S. Senate run from the Empire State.

WORKING THE LINE: Bill Clinton visited GreenTech’s temporary quarters in Horn Lake, Miss.

Bill and Terry have been exchanging favors ever since.

Last year, Clinton was in Mississippi for the unveiling of the electric “MyCar” prototype developed by GreenTech Automotive.

Burnishing his claim as a “job creator,” gubernatorial candidate McAuliffe boasted that he “bought” GreenTech and “brought it over from China.”

In fact, Clinton got the wheels rolling — and opened a cash spigot for McAuliffe’s run for governor in 2009.

A Watchdog investigation revealed that GreenTech’s creation had less to do with McAuliffe than with the former president, whose William J. Clinton Foundation installed the Democratic Party fundraiser as one of its directors while exploring Asian business ventures.

Charles Wang — owner of GreenTech’s forerunner, Hybrid Kinetic Automotive, and current president of GTA — called Clinton “active in the (car) project, traveling to Hong Kong and introducing company representatives to heads of state.” Clinton was paid $300,000 for his Hong Kong speech.

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RIDE-ALONG: Anthony Rodham, right, travels with GreenTech president and CEO Charles Wang on high-speed train in China.

A top Hybrid Kinetic official donated $25,000 to McAuliffe’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign. That accompanied a $50,000 contribution from Hybrid Kinetic on May 27, 2009, and $10,000 a week later from a second company executive.

Today, Clinton cronies are found throughout GreenTech, where McAuliffe now holds the title of “chairman emeritus.” Hillary Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham, heads GTA’s funding arm, Gulf Coast Funds Management. Clinton’s IRS commissioner, Margaret “Peggy” Richardson, sits on Gulf Coast’s board of directors.

Like the Clintons, Richardson hosted a fundraiser for McAuliffe this year. Bill Clinton wrote a $100,000 check to McAuiffe.

“Terry is basically bought and paid for by the Clintons right now,” Tim Miller, executive director of the conservative America Rising PAC, told the Washington Post this week.

Miller suggested that the Clintons are working so hard for McAuliffe as “a big payback.”

It’s also an exercise in paying it forward.

Governors are their states’ chief political organizers, and Hillary, who ran for the Democrat’s presidential nomination in 2008 (her campaign was chaired by McAuliffe), is an all-but-announced candidate for 2016. A swing state, Virginia will be a prime battleground.

As the Clintons and McAuliffe trade political and financial favors, there have been bumps along the way.

GreenTech (the company discovered by Clinton) and Gulf Coast (headed by Hillary’s brother) are under federal investigation over use of a controversial immigration program in which foreign nationals can obtain green cards in exchange for $500,000 investments in the United States.

Also under investigation is U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services director Alejandro Mayorkas, with whom McAuliffe had numerous personal meetings to press for quicker agency approval of GTA investors.

Before GreenTech ran into its series of scandals, Clinton’s foundation was bleeding red ink while McAuliffe served on its board. In two straight years, the foundation burned through $317 million in donations and grants and ended up with a $43 million deficit.

Mississippians, meanwhile, wonder where the GreenTech money has gone. Since Clinton appeared at the gala “unveiling” in July 2012, GTA’s promised assembly plant has not been built and the company, said to employ fewer than 100 workers, has not divulged production or sales figures.

Still, Clinton remains in the picture, literally. A March confidential memorandum to prospective GTA investors includes photographs and references to McAuliffe’s close ties to the former president.

“That’s the way that the Clintons operate, in a very clubby, insider, ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine’ D.C. manner,” Miller said.

Kenric Ward is chief of Watchdog’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

 

 

Part of 74 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

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Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers. A California native, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 as Virginia Bureau Chief.