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National security on ‘hold’: Lawmakers press McAuliffe for answers

By   /   July 30, 2013  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 42 of 76 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul

THE PLAYERS: State Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Louisa, center, says he was “very frustrated” by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas, left, and his “perfunctory” response last month to Garrett’s repeated inquiries about GreenTech Automotive’s funding via the USCIS visa-investor program. Garrett wants Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, right, to reveal details about his meeting with Mayorkas.

 

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

RICHMOND – With the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under investigation, a Virginia lawmaker on Monday called for Terry McAuliffe to disclose what happened at his “sit-down” with the agency boss.

State Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Louisa, said he was “very frustrated” by USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas’ “perfunctory” response last month to Garrett’s repeated inquiries about GreenTech Automotive’s funding via the USCIS visa-investor program.

“Who would I send my next request to, when the director is the subject of a federal investigation?” Garrett mused. “Maybe if I had (Homeland Security Secretary Janet) Napolitano’s number, like McAuliffe, I could get a sit-down, too.”

Mayorkas and USCIS did not respond to Watchdog’s repeated requests for comment.

Testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee last Thursday, Mayorkas said he took no action after meeting with McAuliffe “about two years ago.”

The director said GreenTech’s foreign-funding arm, Gulf Coast Funds Management, complained then and  “continues to complain” about his agency’s processing of $500,000 investment blocks made by applicants, mainly from China.

In the past week, documents provided by U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s office linked Gulf Coast with Huawei Technologies.

“I have obtained emails which indicate that one of the investors in Gulf Coast is a vice president of Huawei Technologies, whose connections to Chinese intelligence have been documented by the House Intelligence Committee,” Grassley wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller this month.

The Iowa Republican quoted a government document that stated the automotive venture “has 21 related pending (visa-investor) cases. There is a Fraud/National Security hold on all 21 of these.”

Virginia state Delegate Israel O’Quinn picked up that tip Monday.

“The Obama administration blocked Huawei from building wind turbines in Oregon, citing national-security concerns. Why would McAuliffe and GreenTech take money from an individual with a sketchy track record? Are they so desperate for cash?” asked O’Quinn, R-Bristol.

O’Quinn noted that former Gov. Tim Kaine’s administration “seemed to anticipate some national security implications” when reviewing GreenTech’s business plans in 2009.

Mayorkas testified Thursday that he referred the Gulf Coast matter to USCIS’ Fraud Detection National Security Directorate “for appropriate action based upon a question of the project’s integrity.” He did not elaborate.

Gulf Coast, which shares a McLean, Va., office with GreenTech, is headed by Anthony Rodham, the younger brother of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mayorkas’ testimony flatly contradicted McAuliffe’s claims — and those of other GreenTech and Gulf Coast representatives — that they had never met with immigration officials.

Mayorkas’ recollections are supported by documents obtained by Watchdog.org. In email communications and letters, Rodham — as well as Gulf Coast general counsel Simone Williams and McAuliffe himself — contacted Mayorkas and other federal officials several times over the past three years to push for applicant approvals.

Yet Williams asserted last week that Gulf Coast “has not sought assistance from USCIS” in resolving cases.

“GCFM is not part of any investigation by Department of Homeland Security,” Williams told NBC-12 News in Richmond.

Williams said the center “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.”

Watchdog.org has reported that Williams and Rodham emailed Mayorkas on Jan. 23 and Jan. 29 of this year with requests to expedite scores of investor applications.

McAuliffe spokesman Josh Schwerin told the Richmond Times-Dispatch last week that DHS’ Mayorkas investigation “does not involve Terry, and we hope it is completed in a timely manner.”

McAuliffe is in a tight gubernatorial race with Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

“Virginians deserve answers,” said Garrett, who is also Commonwealth attorney for Louisa County.

GreenTech has sued Watchdog for $85 million, alleging that its coverage defamed the company and damaged investor relations.

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

Part of 76 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul
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  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
  75. Investigation finds Mayorkas used visa program to help White House allies
  76. Criminal investigation sought in McAuliffe-Mayorkas dealings

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Kenric Ward was a former San Antonio-based reporter for Watchdog.org.