By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s choice for the No. 2 job at the Homeland Security Department is under investigation for his role in helping Gulf Coast Funds Management secure an international investor visa for a Chinese executive, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas was named by the DHS Inspector General’s Office as a target in an ongoing investigation about the EB-5 foreign investor program, the AP said.
Gulf Coast, which is headed by Anthony Rodham, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s younger brother, is a funding arm of GreenTech Automotive. Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe was company chairman until April, when the company abruptly announced that he had resigned four months before. He is still an owner.
The financial and political links between the two ventures has been the subject of a series of investigative articles by Watchdog.org over the past eight months. In April, GreenTech filed an $85 million lawsuit against Watchdog.org, alleging libel and saying the news organization’s reporting jeopardized millions of dollars in investments.
An email obtained by the AP said the primary complaint against Mayorkas was that he helped Gulf Coast win approval for an investor visa after the application was denied and an appeal was rejected.
According to the email from the DHS Inspector General’s Office, the investigation of the investor visa program also includes allegations that other USCIS Office of General Counsel officials obstructed an audit of the visa program by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The email did not name any specific official from the general counsel’s office.
Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent the FBI a lengthy letter Tuesday asking for details of its review of the foreign investor visa program and Chinese investment in U.S. infrastructure projects, the AP said.
GTA Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Marianne McInerney, told Richmond’s NBC-12 that the report of an investigation was news to GreenTech.
“GreenTech Automotive was not aware of any investigation of the EB-5 program by the Department of Homeland Security before it was reported by the Associated Press,” she said. “GTA has not been contacted by the Inspector General’s office.”
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, pounced on the news. In a statement, he said:
“Over the past several weeks, a series of news reports have raised serious questions about the manner in which Terry McAuliffe and GreenTech Automotive sought out and obtained EB-5 visas. While the growing list of questions remain unanswered, that’s largely because my opponent has been unwilling or unable to come forward and set the record straight.”
“I think it’s time for Terry McAuliffe to come forward and answer questions about this serious matter. Virginians deserve to know the truth about McAuliffe and GreenTech’s potentially inappropriate solicitation of EB-5 visas,” Cuccinelli said.
Virginia state Sen. Tom Garrett, who has made repeated inquiries to Mayorkas about the administration of the EB-5 program, said, “Based on today’s revelations, it appears that perhaps Mr. Mayorkas is not someone we can count on to investigate Mr. McAuliffe’s alleged wrongdoing involving EB-5 visas.”
Mayorkas is scheduled to appear Thursday for a confirmation hearing at the Senate Homeland Security and Government Relations Committee. Nominated by the president to be deputy secretary of DHS, Mayorkas would be in line to assume Secretary Janet Napolitano‘s duties after she leaves to preside over the University of California system next month.
A spokeswoman for Homeland Security Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., said Mayorkas’ confirmation hearing was still on Thursday’s calendar.
Obama administration officials deferred comment to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not reply to Watchdog’s inquiry Tuesday afternoon.
McAuliffe campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin told NBC-12: “The investigation does not involve Terry and we hope that it is completed in a timely matter.”
Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org 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