The New York Times provides a little more background on the efforts by former Democratic Party chair Terry McAuliffe to secure EB-5 visas — and a little more of the scope, too. When McAuliffe and other GreenTech officials met with US Customs and Immigrations Services chief Alejandro Mayorkas, they didn’t land the meeting from their own personal charm alone. According to whistleblowers sending information to Senator Charles Grassley, McAuliffe got some help from Vice President Joe Biden’s office, and a boost from Mayorkas’ boss, outgoing DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:
He and his lawyers sent a stream of e-mails to a senior official in charge of approving foreign investments that Mr. McAuliffe sought, and he went up the chain of command to Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, documents show. …
He reached out to Ms. Napolitano and to a White House liaison to clean energy companies — a meeting that a GreenTech lawyer said was set up through Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“Terry knew somebody in Biden’s office and that’s how the meeting got coordinated,” said the lawyer, Stephen Yale-Loehr.
That wasn’t the only involvement of Napolitano in the process. When McAuliffe and his team sat down with Mayorkas, Napolitano made an appearance, and apparently an impression:
When a meeting finally took place in 2011, the official seemed to burn with resentment that Mr. McAuliffe went over his head, recalled Charles Wang, the president of the car company. … The official Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Wang met with in 2011, Alejandro Mayorkas, is the focus of an internal Homeland Security Department investigation into whether he gave GreenTech special treatment, which he denies.
As their meeting was wrapping up, Ms. Napolitano popped into the room to say hello, Mr. Wang said. Later, Mr. Mayorkas issued a favorable ruling that cleared the way for GreenTech to recruit more foreign investors.
It’s not just that Mayorkas issued “a favorable ruling.” He overruled a denial from his own team at USCIS to approve GreenTech’s EB-5 applications, a key change that allowed McAuliffe to bring badly-needed capital into his company. That capital came from a Chinese company that had been accused of connections to PRC’s intelligence and military, a company that Barack Obama’s campaign attacked Mitt Romney for its connections to Bain long after Romney had left Bain management.
Biden’s office and Napolitano herself seemed pretty interested in getting McAuliffe his cash and his EB-5 visas. It would have been remarkable if Mayorkas hadn’t bent to that kind of pressure. Grassley’s chances of getting the Senate to investigate this deal and the involvement of Napolitano and Biden approach nil, but perhaps the House can take up where Grassley leaves off.