Another day, another terrible headline for Terry McAuliffe
posted at 11:28 am on August 12, 2013 by Guy Benson
The AP headline: Foreign investments under scrutiny as car company’s big plans haven’t materialized. Said car company is Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s baby, and it’s a scandal-plagued, “green” flop:
Four years ago, a startup car company announced with great fanfare big plans for the Mississippi Delta: Using money from foreign investors and other sources, it would build a massive auto plant to churn out a new line of energy-efficient cars and bring thousands of jobs to the area. It seemed like a win for everyone involved … Today, the place where the plant was to be remains mostly vacant except for a temporary construction trailer. The company — GreenTech Automotive Inc. — is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the probe is reverberating well beyond Mississippi’s borders, bringing scrutiny to a Virginia gubernatorial candidate and the company run by the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton…The cars were supposed to start rolling off the assembly line in 2012. The company now hopes to start producing cars next year. And while they say they still plan to build a plant in Tunica County, all that was on the land on a recent afternoon was a construction trailer, a few pieces of equipment and a few workers strolling around. The company instead now uses a former elevator factory 30 miles away in Horn Lake. A McAuliffe spokesman said about 100 small electric vehicles were built by the time McAuliffe resigned from the company in December. The thousands of promised jobs have yet to materialize.
McAuliffe has promoted himself as a “Virginia businessman” on the campaign trail, but his signature business is located out of state, lies in ruins, and is under federal investigation. The SEC probe is tied to allegations that GreenTech’s funding arm — which is operated by Hillary Clinton’s younger brother — has been running what amounts to a visa-for-cash scheme with “potential national security implications.” Such concerns were what prompted the Commonwealth of Virginia to take a pass on McAuliffe’s fledgling company in the first place. Now, the DHS official at the center of this controversy (who happens to be a top Obama appointee with a history of improper political maneuvering) is the target of a simultaneous investigation from the department’s Inspector General. As Ed noted over the weekend, the New York Times ran a surprisingly frank front page story on McAuliffe’s web of insider connections, accusations of influence peddling, and dubious ethics. McAuliffe’s Republican opponent, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, wasted no time in pouncing on the piece:
“This is today’s New York Times. Front page of The New York Times and I would not normally urge anyone to buy The New York Times, but it is pretty incredible to see what they have run about my opponent and his attempted use of connections with respect to GreenTech and the current president and CEO’s comments. The current president of GreenTech said that Terry and people like him are dangerous for business. That’s his quote. And Terry is still a 25 percent shareholder in this company and that’s what the chairman is saying. Wow. How do you say it? That will leave a mark.“
But will it impact the polls? Recent surveys have produced mixed results, with an unusually high number of uncommitted voters. I’ve been told that polling breaks heavily against McAuliffe when respondents are aware of his GreenTech baggage, which is probably why the GOP has placed that narrative front and center in a new batch of television ads. Parting thought: Watchdog.org 1, McAuliffe/GreenTech 0.
UPDATE – Hillary Clinton apparently can’t smell, or isn’t bothered by, all the ethical smoke. She’s reportedly planning to hold a high-dollar fundraiser for McAuliffe in the coming weeks.