By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Email exchanges with the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reveal that Terry McAuliffe’s GreenTech Automotive and its funding arm enjoy unusual access to several top Obama administration officials.
In one instance, McAuliffe appealed directly to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for special treatment to secure GreenTech’s funding.
Such high-level access is likely a function of connections between federal officials and GreenTech executives and board members, many of them Washington insiders:
- McAuliffe, who chaired the Democratic National Committee during the Clinton era and was chairman of GTA until last December, was a chief fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton.
- Rick C. Wade, a GTA vice president, was a top Commerce Department official and helped run President Obama’s 2012 campaign while serving as a Democratic Party executive.
- Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s younger brother, heads Gulf Coast Funds Management, GTA’s funding arm.
- Serving on the GCFM board are Kathleen Blanco, former Democratic governor of Louisiana; and Margaret “Peggy” Richardson, Clinton’s former IRS commissioner.
Williams reported that 92 investor petitions had been approved by the agency as of Jan. 23, 2013.
At $500,000 per investor, that totals $46 million.
Williams later sought more, and she contacted Mayorkas to complain that “$17 million of EB-5 funding is being held in an escrow account.” Williams told Mayorkas that the funds “cannot be released to GTA until USCIS approves our … petitions.”
The pattern of insider access was established earlier, when McAuliffe himself went over Mayorkas.
In 2010, the GTA chairman emailed Douglas Smith, assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees USCIS. Two years later, Smith was present at a GreenTech ceremony McAuliffe hosted in Mississippi last July.
On Dec. 15, 2010, McAuliffe wrote to Napolitano, alleging that USCIS was “standing in the way of creating thousands of jobs for U.S. workers.”
The record does not indicate Napolitano’s response, if any.
More recently, Rodham also contacted Mayorkas to push for more EB-5 approvals.
“We really appreciate your assistance in looking into this matter for us to move our cases along,” Rodham stated on Jan. 29. No subsequent emails were available to indicate what, if anything, Mayorkas did.
Napolitano recently announced her departure from the Department of Homeland Security. But that should come as a small worry for the well-connected McAuliffe, who still will have very good friends in very high places: Among them Mayorkas, whom President Barack Obama this month nominated for deputy secretary of DHS.
Mayorkas did not respond to a Watchdog.org inquiry.
Steve Camarota, director of research for the enforcement-oriented Center for Immigration Studies, told Watchdog.org that the ability of GreenTech and Gulf Coast to get the ear of the director of the 18,000-employee agency is exceptional.
“It’s very tough (to get USCIS responses), even at the public-affairs level. I wish I could get that kind of service,” Camarota said.
Virginia state Sen. Tom Garrett, who wrote to Mayorkas twice in the past three months seeking information about USCIS-GreenTech communications, wrote the director again on Friday.
“More than anything, I’m disturbed that private citizen Terry McAuliffe can gain access to a Cabinet-level secretary while everyday Americans cannot,” stated the Republican lawmaker who also serves as the commonwealth attorney of Louisa County.
“I may just be 1/40th of the Senate of Virginia, but I represent more than 200,000 Virginians who deserve to know just what their government is doing on their behalf, and whether or not Terry McAuliffe received any special treatment due to his political connections,” Garrett said
Kenric Ward is chief of Watchdog’s Virginia Bureau. Contact him at email@example.com or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward
- 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
- Investigation finds Mayorkas used visa program to help White House allies
- Criminal investigation sought in McAuliffe-Mayorkas dealings