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McAuliffe company pressed Homeland official on 81 investor visas

By   /   July 24, 2013  /   1 Comment

Part 36 of 73 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul

By Tori Richards | Watchdog.org

AP Photo

EMAIL TROUBLE: Alejandro Mayorkas is in the hot seat over allegedly helping a Clinton relative.

Emails between Alejandro Mayorkas and attorneys working for GreenTech Automotive show the company pressed the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director to speed processing of 81 investor applications in a federal “cash-for-visas” program after each invested at least $500,000 in the hybrid car company.

The Inspector General’s Office says Mayorkas is the subject of an investigation for allegedly helping Gulf Coast Funds Management secure a visa for at least one GreenTech investor, according to the Assoicated Press. Mayorkas is President Obama’s nominee for the No. 2 position in the Department of Homeland Security.

One of the visas sought by Gulf Coast is for an official with a Chinese telecommunications firm that has been investigated by the House Intelligence Committee over claims it has close ties with Chinese intelligence, NBC News reported. The company in question, Huawei Technologies, denied such charges, NBC said.

Gulf Coast officials forcefully denied the AP report to an NBC affiliate in Richmond and claimed that they are not a part of any federal investigation.

“Gulf Coast Funds Management (GCFM) has not sought assistance from USCIS to resolve a rejected appeal. In fact, we are not aware of any investor visa applications associated with our Regional Center being denied,” said Gulf Coast attorney Simone Williams. “GCFM is not part of any investigation by Department of Homeland Security.”

The GreenTech controversy is magnified because of its many political connections to the federal government. It’s owned by Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, who announced his resignation as company chairman in April amidst an intense investigation by Watchdog. The company’s fundraising arm, Gulf Coast, is headed by Bill Clinton’s brother-in-law Anthony Rodham. USCIS authorized the company to solicit investors through the government’s EB-5 program, which awards visas to foreign

AP Photo

FAMOUS PALS: Tony Rodham, left, and brother-in-law Bill Clinton in this 1994 photo.

investors.

But apparently the USCIS wasn’t working fast enough to suit Gulf Coast and GreenTech. Two years ago a Gulf Coast attorney emailed Mayorkas, asking him to expedite

processing of 81 investor applications.

“Is there anything we can do to have the (applications) adjudicated and direction provided on the remaining cases?” asked attorney Dawn Lurie in a July 7, 2011 email. Then on Jan. 23, 2013, Mayorkas received another email from a second Gulf Coast lawyer.

This time she said 31 petitions were pending, but singled out two applicants for special consideration.

“Undue delay by USCIS in reviewing our (petitions) has jeopardized our marketing efforts, as prospective investors are reluctant to invest in GTA without seeing our petition approval record,” wrote Simone Williams.

A week later, Rodham followed with his own email, complaining that he was inundated with questions from the USCIS seeking additional information.

Back in 2009, McAuliffe sought the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s help in building a home for GreenTech in the state where he was running for governor. But VEDP officials were skeptical of the EB-5 funding mechanism that now has Mayorkas at the center of the IG probe. One Virginia official said the project appeared to be a “visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications.”

Virginia officials also worried about the close ties between Gulf Coast and GreenTech. “We believe that having the principals of the Regional Center be the same as the principals of the company benefiting from the investment creates a conflict of interest,” wrote VEPD Chairman Jeffrey Anderson to Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Patrick Gottschalk.

The legal database Lexis/Nexis shows GreenTech and Gulf Coast are related, sharing the same McLean, Va., address through February 2013.

“Until questions regarding the plant are answered and a complete financing solution is identified, we recommend that the Governor decline the opportunity to support the expansion into Virginia of the Gulf Coast Funds Management LLC Regional Center affiliated with GTA,” Anderson wrote in 2009.

Virginia government officials finally nixed the idea of a plant there. McAuliffe ultimately located the plant in Mississippi and has yet to construct the building that he says will be its permanent facility.

Kenric Ward contributed to this story.

Contact Tori Richards at tori@watchdog.org and on twitter @newswriter2

Part of 73 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

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Tori Richards is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated reporter who has covered some of the biggest news in the world during her 25 years in the business. She has also won a dozen national and local writing awards for her coverage of the judicial system. Richards has worked for CBS News, Bloomberg, Reuters. Agence-France Presse, the NY Post, the NY Times and The Daily among others. Her work has also appeared on CNN.com, FoxNews.com and US News & World Report. Some of her biggest stories included the cases of OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Night Stalker.

  • mcbee555

    McAuliffe is rotten to the core. GreenTech is supposedly a private company but financed with federal money! McAuliffe is part of a huge extortion plot of federal money. It’s Democrat Party “pay-off time,” and McAuliffe is an old Democrat Party traveler. Here’s a man who wants to be Governor of Virginia, which needs jobs, yet he’s focused upon “Creating jobs in North Mississippi!” Just carefully read the itemized list above to see what an arch-phony this man is!
    Mayorkas, Obama’s nominee for #2 Homeland Security spot is just as corrupt…….
    Jesse James was a clean-living fellow compared to these Beltway thieves!
    It’s Democrat pay-off time!