By Jason Stverak | Watchdog.org
Keeping up with the life and times of gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe and former GreenTech Automotive CEO is challenging. Just as my latest op-ed pertaining to the Virginia Democrat and GTA was being edited another potentially devastating investigation associated with McAuliffe surfaces. As President of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a nonprofit news organization, I understand the news waits for nobody. But come on, Terry! If I don’t see my wife soon, she will do her best impression of the GTA legal team and file her own papers.
On Friday, Watchdog reported, “Government documents released Friday reveal that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating GreenTech’s sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management, prompted by a lengthy Watchdog investigation into the company’s cash-for-visas financing.”
A few days before, Watchdog.org cited an Associated Press report that Alejandro Mayorkas, President Obama’s choice for the No. 2 job at the Homeland Security Department, is a target in an ongoing DHS investigation probing the EB-5 foreign investor program. Mayorkas allegedly helped Gulf Coast Funds Management, the fundraising arm of GTA, receive approval for an investor visa after the application was denied and on appeal was rejected.
Did I mention that GCFM is headed by Anthony Rodham, Hillary Rodham Clinton’s younger brother? Add to the mix McAuliffe’s campaign for governor and his well-timed resignation from GTA in December, first made public in April, and you have a soap opera with a powerful cast of characters in both the political and business arena – foreign and domestic.
But while the McAuliffe/GreenTech saga may be fascinating fodder for a gossip-hungry public, the barrage of investigations into GTA in conjunction with numerous controversial statements by McAuliffe is a very serious matter, especially for Old Dominion voters soon headed to the polls to select their next governor.
On Sunday during the National Governors Association meeting in Milwaukee, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal seized the opportunity presented by the SEC investigation. The Chairman of the Republican Governors Association told reporters that Virginia Democrats should drop McAuliffe as a candidate. He called upon his Democratic counterpart, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, to find a replacement candidate.
According to Politico, Jindal went so far as to declare, “As the governor of Louisiana, this scam’s so bad it would even embarrass politicians in Louisiana.”
Nobody would deny that Jindal and the GOP are taking advantage of the scandals plaguing McAuliffe and the company he co-founded. Call it Politics 101. But Democrats in Virginia and nationally need to pay attention to the negative impact these investigations are having on his candidacy, as well as other high profile names associated with the government inquiries.
Democrats will be disappointed if they lose Virginia’s governor’s race in November. But they may regret it more if Terry McAuliffe wins and remains in the spotlight.
Jason Stverak is president of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.