WASHINGTON — Terry McAuliffe may be the Teflon candidate, because the Democratic candidate for governor of Virginia has been at the center of several major scandals, but has never been charged with any wrongdoing.
That could change with his latest pair of scandals, but not before Tuesday’s election.
The Democrats’ big guns have been campaigning for McAuliffe in his contest against Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
President Obama campaigned with him Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden stumped for him Monday and Bill and Hillary Clinton have each made appearances with him.
McAuliffe is the ultimate Clinton insider, having had a long personal and political relationship with the couple, including serving as co-chairman of President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.
The leftist website Counterpunch called McAuliffe the Clintons’ “chief emissary” whose “implacable loyalty” was amply rewarded in 2001.
That’s when “Bill Clinton engineered the ouster of Joe Andrew as head of the DNC and installed McAuliffe … as the chief of the party. As the head of the DNC, McAuliffe was now in a position to protect the Clintons’ legacy, reward loyalists, punish party dissidents and select the next presidential nominee.”
Back in 2004, the website claimed, “Terry McAuliffe didn’t just use his business contacts to fatten the accounts of the Democratic National Committee; he also deftly exploited them to inflate his own fortune, which now nudges toward nine figures.”
The Washington Post called McAuliffe “a Washington insider who got rich as he rose to power within the Democratic Party” and “even called himself a ‘huckster’ in his autobiography.”
As WND has documented, McAuliffe’s past scandals include:
- Invested $100 and made millions in real estate
- Teamsters money-cycling scheme
- Buddhist temple fundraiser
- Sold face-time with the Clintons
- Rented the Lincoln bedroom
- Made $18 million on a failed fiber-optics company
McAuliffe’s current scandals involve a company named GreenTech and are so complex, WND enlisted the aid of a specialist to help sort them out.
Ward describes Watchdog as “a nonprofit news-gathering organization with bureaus in 40 states whose mission is to expose waste, fraud and abuse at all levels of government.”
WND began by asking him to describe the scandals related to GreenTech and their importance.
“In a nutshell, McAuliffe’s company, GreenTech Automotive, an electric car company, is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission,” summarized the reporter.
Ward said another investigation involves Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who is under investigation by the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.
“These are intertwined and interrelated because Greentech relies on a federal program called EB-5 (ck) which is a visa-investor program. Under the program,when a foreign national contributes $500,000 to a U.S. company, ostensibly to create jobs, they get a green card.”
He described it, basically, as a way for people to get into the country who couldn’t get in otherwise and who have assets to do so.
“Mayorkas is under investigation for supposedly greasing the skids to get these things approved and get the money to GreenTech.”
WND asked Ward about a Washington Post claim that, while GreenTech is under investigation, McAuliffe is not.
“It’s sort of a distinction without a difference, in my opinion,” he said. “The fact is, McAuliffe’s companies are under investigation, which include Gulf Coast Funds Management, the funding arm for GreenTech. It goes out and solicits investors. It’s under investigation by the SEC. And there’s the related Mayorkas investigation.”
Ward said there is no doubt that the companies McAuliffe is affiliated with have been subpoenaed and documents have been requested by the investigators.
“The companies are cooperating. It’s probably fair to say McAuliffe is not a ‘target,’ but you can’t say that for certain because you may not know that you’re a target of an investigation until a subpoena lands in your hands.”
Significantly, Ward points out, McAuliffe was the chairman of the company (now chairman emeritus of the company), and he is the largest shareholder of the company.
“And until this spring, he was going around saying that he was still acting as chairman of the company, even though they said later he had stepped down in December to run for governor.
“So, he kind of wants to have it both ways. He wants to be a big businessman but now he wants plausible deniability that he’s under any investigation.”
Ward said, “I don’t think he can say with any real certainty that he’s not under investigation because, frankly, his companies are.”
WND asked if McAuliffe was in charge of GreenTech when these alleged transgressions happened.
“Absolutely. He was the co-founder of the company back in 2009 and he got some help from Bill Clinton along the way. So it’s a crony deal, there’s no question about it.”
Are there implications for Virginia, WND asked, if McAuliffe if he is elected with this cloud over him?
“First of all, he’s shockingly upfront that it’s easy to raise money for running for governor because there are, as he puts it, all kinds of contracts and road jobs to hand out,” he explained. “So, he’s right off the bat saying that he’s in the crony-style mindset.”
Ward points out that from a legal standpoint, with these investigations ongoing, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that his company, or he personally, could be facing charges of one sort or another.
“So we could have, conceivably, a governor who is indicted on federal charges,” he said. “That’s speculation at this point, but, given the SEC and the inspector general of the DHS don’t just start these investigations out of thin air …”
Ward says Watchdog’s reporting uncovered a promissory note which was included in a series of documents, “And that promissory note is, I believe, the linchpin of the SEC investigation. ”
“The SEC has, in fact shut down and seized the assets of several of these EB-5 regional centers that process and collect money from foreign investors.”
The SEC is aware of the problems this program has nationally, Ward said.
“This is one of the largest regional centers in the country in terms of the amount of money that’s been collected and it is certainly in the middle of a political firestorm, because, as we’ve reported, top-level administration officials have been contacted personally and repeatedly by McAuliffe and his associates at the company.”
Ward said that included Anthony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s younger brother, who was “the head of the Gulf Coast Funds managements outfit that is the funding arm for GreenTech.”
“And these folks have called in, basically, IOUs from Terry’s long-time political fundraising days. That includes Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, (DHS Assistant Secretary for the Private Sector) Doug Smith at DHS and all the way up to (former DHS Secretary) Janet Napolitano, when she was at DHS.”
“So, this is a whole cast of characters that makes for a very interesting political story, as well as a business story,” Ward concluded with understatement.
Follow Garth Kant on Twitter @DCgarth