Whoa: WaPo editorial skewers McAuliffe
posted at 12:06 pm on August 14, 2013 by Guy Benson
In 2009, the Washington Post beclowned itself with borderline-obsessive negative coverage of the Republican gubernatorial nominee across the Potomac in Virginia. They just couldn’t get enough of Bob McDonnell’s grad school thesis, written decades earlier. Four years hence, the Post’s editors have finally woken up and realized that Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s very recent business dealings might bode poorly for the state he seeks to govern. From this morning’s house editorial:
TERRY MCAULIFFE, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia, launched an electric-car company shortly after his failure to win the same nomination four years ago. Over the years, he made lofty predictions about the pace of hiring and production at the firm, known as GreenTech Automotive… Judging by the evidence to date, laid out by The Post’s Fredrick Kunkle, things don’t look promising. GreenTech relies heavily on financing from wealthy foreigners, many of them Chinese, who pony up at least $500,000 each through a federal program designed to attract overseas investors. In return for their investments, they receive U.S. visas and may become eligible for permanent residency green cards. The EB-5 visa program is legal; it’s been operating since 1990 with bipartisan support. The troubling question is whether GreenTech, as conceived by Mr. McAuliffe, is a serious and viable automotive enterprise or mainly a scheme to attract foreign investment capital and serve Mr. McAuliffe’s political agenda.
The fact that production has ramped up so slowly — to date, just a few hundred golf-cart-sized electric cars have rolled off the assembly line — feeds those suspicions. So does a federal investigation focusing on whether a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security gave Mr. McAuliffe special treatment, based on his political connections, in approving EB-5 visas for GreenTech’s foreign investors. Equally disconcerting is GreenTech’s refusal to allow journalists to tour its factory in Mississippi. According to former GreenTech employees who spoke to The Post, the plant is a Potemkin manufacturing facility, where managers stage a semblance of production for the benefit of visitors. Company officials deny that. If it’s untrue, they should allow journalists to see for themselves…A more serious allegation, which has prompted an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, is that GreenTech made improper promises to investors, suggesting they would receive guaranteed returns on their investments …Virginians are right to press him for answers.
There hasn’t been a major poll released in this race for more than a month, during which time McAuliffe’s ethical woes (and laughable dodges) have received significant publicity. It’s also worth noting that the ‘visa-for-sale scheme’ allegation is now so commonplace — appearing in GOP ads, WaPo editorials, and federal investigations — that it’s easy to forget that McAuliffe’s company filed an intimidation lawsuit against Watchdog.org in April for the site’s original reportage on the issue.