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Virginia official wants probe of McAuliffe company ‘visa-for-sale’ program

By   /   April 12, 2013  /   No Comments

Part 7 of 74 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul

GARRETT: “It is at least reasonable to question Terry McAuliffe’s judgment.”

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

FREDERICKSBURG – A Virginia state senator has issued a demand for a federal review of what state officials called a “visa-for-sale scheme with potential national-security implications.”

Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Louisa, submitted his request Thursday to the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, which administers the EB-5 private-investment program.

Garrett raised concerns amid media reports that Virginia officials in the-Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration questioned Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s hybrid-car venture. Funding for the business is based in part on a federal program that offers U.S. visas to foreign nationals in exchange for their investment in targeted industries.

“In the wake of Solyndra and dozens of other green-energy boondoggles, it is at least reasonable to question Terry McAuliffe’s judgment,” Garrett told Watchdog. “The decision of Tim Kaine’s VEDP (Virginia Economic Development Partnership) to pass on GreenTech raises additional concerns. Any allegation of a ‘money for visa scheme’ – their words, not mine – should raise grave concerns for Virginia voters.”

Watchdog, along with the Washington Post and National Review, reported this week on “grave doubts” expressed by then-Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration about GreenTech Automotive and its EB-5 fund-raising efforts in 2009.

“I am formally requesting that the appropriate officials within your agency will review this matter and provide an official response as soon as possible,” Garrett, a commonwealth attorney in Virginia, wrote to USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas.

Liz Povar, vice president of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, was quoted in the Post as writing in November 2009: I maintain serious concerns about the establishment of an EB-5 center in general, and most specifically, based on this company.

“Not only based on (lack of) management expertise, (lack of) market preparation, etc., but also still can’t get my head around this being anything other than a visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications that we have no way to confirm or discount,” Povar wrote.

McAuliffe was chairman of GreenTech until his retroactive resignation was quietly announced by president/CEO Charles Wang last Friday. The firm has a corporate office in McAuliffe’s hometown of McLean and plans to build a production facility in Mississippi. On Monday, GreenTech filed an $85 million lawsuit against Watchdog.org.

As part of its fund-raising efforts, GreenTech is using the federal EB-5 program, in which foreign nationals invest $500,000 in the company to create U.S. jobs. The investments put would-be immigrants on the path to earning U.S. residency.

The company has never responded to Watchdog.org’s requests for comments. The company has not said how much EB-5 money has been raised or spent.

USCIS spokesman Christopher Bentley said Friday morning that he could not comment on Garrett’s letter, but added, “We received it and Director Mayorkas will reply directly to Sen. Garrett.”

State Delegate Tim Hugo, R-Centreville, shared Garrett’s questions about McAuliffe’s activities.

“We just can’t figure out what Terry’s rationale is for running (for governor) if he doesn’t have GreenTech. He keeps talking about the created jobs at GreenTech,” Hugo said. “Where are the jobs? They’re obviously not coming to Virginia. Are they coming to Mississippi or coming to China?”

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the 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.