Sparta Report

Ghosts of Mississippi: FBI Target Clintonista Terry McAuliffe and the Strange Case of GreenTech Automotive

As the FBI Dragnet around the Presumptive Democratic Candidate for President of the United States Hillary Clinton continues to close it is trapping more of her influential friends.

Terry McAuliffe is an American businessman fundraiser politician and former chairman of the Democratic Party. He served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2005 and served as co-chairman of President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign and as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial election, who came back to win the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election.

Foxnews.com reports that

Federal officials are investigating whether Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 campaign accepted illegal campaign contributions sources familiar with the investigation confirmed Monday to Fox News.

The Democratic governor and Clinton ally is the target of a Justice Department investigation into whether he violated campaign finance laws.

The probe first reported by CNN involves a $120000 donation from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang through his U.S. businesses. U.S. election law prohibits foreign nationals to donate to political races.

McAuliffe’s attorney Marc Elias said in a statement his office was not aware of the investigation but would cooperate if contacted by federal officials.

“We cannot confirm the CNN report. Neither the Governor nor his former campaign has knowledge of this matter but as reported contributions to the campaign from Mr. Wang were completely lawful” Elias said. “The Governor will certainly cooperate with the government if he is contacted about it.”

A spokesman for Wang told CNN the businessman holds permanent resident status in the U.S.

Wang also has been a donor to the Clinton foundation pledging $2 million CNN reported.

McAuliffe now becomes the second consecutive Virginia governor to be investigated by the Justice Department.

McAuliffe’s predecessor in the governor’s mansion Republican Bob McDonnell was convicted on federal corruption charges but has appealed his conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before winning his gubernatorial campaign in 2013 over Republican Ken Cuccinelli McAuliffe made his name in national Democratic politics as a prolific well-connected fundraiser with close ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Although McAuliffe is close to the Clintons a law enforcement official told the Associated Press that the investigation of McAuliffe is unconnected to a separate FBI investigation looking at the legality of private email servers that Hillary Clinton used while serving as secretary of state.

Last year McAuliffe’s political action committee Common Good Va. returned a $25000 donation from a company with ties to Angola’s state-owned oil company after The Associated Press raised questions about its legality. Federal law prohibits campaigns at any level from receiving money from outside the U.S.

McAuliffe’s international business connections also came under scrutiny prior to his gubernatorial campaign. He served as chairman of GreenTech Automotive a company that hoped to bring super compact automobiles to the U.S. market.

The company attracted hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign investment in part through a federal program that granted visas to investors who met certain job-creation thresholds.

McAuliffe resigned from the company in December 2012. GreenTech which received millions of dollars in economic incentives from state and local officials to build a plant in Mississippi faced criticism for falling well below expectations in production and job creation.

Yeah about that. Sitting here at KJ Headquarters in Northwest Mississippi I have a bird’s eye view of the whole unseemly mess.

Last week the Memphis CBS Affiliate WREG filed the following report…

ROBINSONVILLE Miss. — They promised jobs — and lots of them — but after accepting millions in taxpayer money a Tunica County car manufacturer is refusing to say how many jobs were actually created.

GreenTech Automotive got a $3 million loan from the state of Mississippi in 2011 to build the Robinsonville facility with the promise that they would create 350 jobs. Close to $1.9 million was loaned to Tunica County to support the project.

But now the Mississippi Development Authority said GreenTech has fallen short of the promised 350 jobs.

“If we pay our taxes for it it should be here” said Tunica County resident Billy Jackson.

WREG called and emailed the spokesman listed on GreenTech’s website and never heard back.

Tuesday afternoon we dropped by the Robinsonville plant where we were promptly greeted by a manager.

“Right now we’re building cars here and we don’t talk to any kind of press” said Terey Agner manager of GreenTech’s plant.

Agner refused to say how many people the plant employed.

“No no I can’t do anything” said Agner.

We received a similar response from the Tunica County Chamber of Commerce which hailed GreenTech’s arrival when it opened its plant in 2014.

“My only statement is that GreenTech has people employed and they are working” said Lyn Arnold CEO of the Chamber.

“These companies that come in and expect to get tax breaks and make promises about jobs they need to keep their word” said Brooks Taylor publisher of the Tunica Times.

Taylor has tracked GreenTech’s progress since 2009 when they promised their Robinsonville plant would create 1500 jobs.

They later revised that figure to 350.

“There’s nothing here. $5 million could have did a whole lot more to the town to the city and it went to one job one company” said Jackson.

In addition to the added jobs GreenTech had said it would also produce 30000 cars per year at its plant.

We don’t know if GreenTech is currently meeting that goal.

The company known as GreenTech Automotive has been a shady entity from its very beginning.

The Washington Free Beacon presented the following five points to remember about Greentech Automotive in an article published in August of 2013…

1. GreenTech fell short on job promises multiple times

McAuliffe told Virginians in 2009 that the new car company would create 1500 jobs for the state.

McAuliffe did not tell Virginians that the company was also in talks with the state of Mississippi and would soon opt to move its operations there.

However things have not panned out with GreenTech in Mississippi either.

McAuliffe projected that GreenTech would be churn out 10000 cars in its first year and employ thousands.

At this point it is unclear whether GreenTech is producing any jobs. Further informationBelow.]

GreenTech is still operating at what was supposed to be a temporary facility in Horn Lake Miss.

Although McAuliffe claimed that ground was broken at the company’s planed permanent facility local investigators found that there was nothing but overgrown grass covering the plot on which it is supposed to be located.

2. GreenTech relies on a foreign “visa-for-sale” investment scheme

At the center of GreenTech’s fundraising operation is the controversial EB-5 visa program.

The program allows foreign nationals to get a visa if they invest $500000 to $1 million in a project or business that provides U.S. jobs.

GreenTech partners with Gulf Coast Funds Management (GCFM) a company that is authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to collect EB-5 investments for GreenTech.

GCFM has collected at least $45.5 million from foreign investors for GreenTech through the program. Anthony Rodham a close friend of McAuliffe who also happens to be the brother of Hillary Clinton runs GCFM.

Many have been skeptical about whether the visa program was being used properly.

Virginia officials labeled the company a “visa-for-sale scheme” and feared that doing business with GreenTech could eventually “give the Commonwealth a black eye.”

3. GreenTech is being investigated by the SEC

Both GreenTech and GCFM are targets of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation.

Although the details of the investigation are still unclear both companies have confirmed that the SEC subpoenaed them for documents in May of this year.

Documents made available by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa) make clear that the investigation centers around the use of the EB-5 visa program.

McAuliffe who quietly resigned from the company in December claims that he had no knowledge of any pending investigation at the time of his resignation.

4. GreenTech is at the center of a Homeland Security investigation

GreenTech and McAuliffe have also found themselves involved in a Department of Homeland Security investigation.

USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas allegedly assisted Rodham and GCFM win approval for an EB-5 visa application even after the application and the subsequent appeal were rejected.

Documents revealed that Rodham directly contacted Mayorkas and urged him to approve pending visa applications.

Concerns were also raised that Mayorkas expedited the approval of applicants that were held for “fraud/national security.”

5. GreenTech’s parent company is based in the British Virgin Islands

GreenTech is owned by Capital Wealth Holdings an investment company incorporated in the tax haven the British Virgin Islands.

GreenTech president and Chinese businessman Charles Wang owns the investment company.

Wang is an expert on the EB-5 visa program and has coached other U.S. companies on how to effectively make use of it.

Of course Terry McAuliffe saw things differently.

According to McAuliffe in an op ed piece he wrote at the time for the Washington Post

I’ve not been contacted in any way by those conducting the investigation and have no knowledge of it beyond what has been reported. From what has been reported the investigation appears to be looking at a document allegedly prepared for potential investors — something I was not responsible for as chairman.

Republicans have also criticized the company for employing only about 100 people. Of course that’s about 100 jobs that would not have existed if we had not taken a risk on this company. The company has taken longer to develop than many people expected including me but taking a risk on an innovative company is a critical part of the American system and most business leaders I speak with agree that it’s not uncommon for a company to face challenges meeting its goals.

GreenTech was started because those involved invested their own money in high-tech manufacturing. In this case it was manufacturing a small electric vehicle that had already won an annual award. Like every start-up during the Great Recession the company faced headwinds. Those included a bureaucratic slowdown in a bipartisan visa program known as EB-5 which brings capital from overseas to create jobs here in the United States for many companies. I joined a variety of business and political leaders from both parties who expressed frustration to officials at the agency overseeing the program.

A further headwind is that manufacturing isn’t easy and manufacturing a new kind of car is even harder. The company has invested in research and development testing and safety to perfect the design. While Nissan worked to develop electric vehicles for about 18 years before launching the Leaf GreenTech made progress in just a few years during a more challenging economic time. If GreenTech succeeds it will be a step forward for innovative manufacturing.

I have an interest — both personally and financially — in the company succeeding and I believe that it will. As a minority shareholder my return will be determined by the success of a long process of testing manufacturing marketing and selling vehicles all over the world.

Like his dear friend Hillary Clinton Terry McAuliffe has a history of promising the world and delivering squat.

Democrats incessantly Proclaim that they are the party of the average American.

In reality under the rule of a democrat congress and the last seven years of a Democrat president America’s economy has been on a plunge straight down the old porcelain receptacle.

The “temporary” Greentech Automotive Plant which was supposed to provide a lot of jobs here in Northwest Mississippi sits just a couple of miles down the road from where I am writing this post. The fact is according to both current and former employees fewer than 100 workers produced no more than one car every two or three days…a legacy of over-promising and under-delivering which is continuing at their state-of-the-art plant just outside of Tunica, Mississippi.

This legacy is what we have to look forward to if Hillary Clinton is allowed to gain the Presidency of the United States of America.

Hopefully those who still work for the cause of justice and the FBI will indict both of these malefactors before the November Presidential Election.

Relative morality and situational ethics of the Obama Administration has sent America heading toward a brick wall of economic Despair and mediocrity like Crash Test Dummies in the commercials we have seen for decades on television.

It’s time to hit the brakes.

Until He Comes

KJ