Major Virginia Paper: 'Fast Terry' Film Rocks McAuliffe Campaign
The top political columnist at a major Virginia newspaper not known to favor conservative candidates wrote on Thursday that "Fast Terry," the new documentary film from Citizens United that portrays Clinton pal and former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe in a highly unfavorable light, "has come at a tough time for the Democratic nominee for governor."
Julian Walker of the Virginian-Pilot did not stop there. "Despite McAuliffe campaign dismissals of Citizens United's 30-minute "Fast Terry" film as a partisan hit piece," he wrote, "its arrival amid a federal probe related to GreenTech Automotive's finances is harmful."
For the campaign of Republican McAuliffe's opponent, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the timing of "Fast Terry's" release last week could not have been better. Two news events brought the film's claims about McAuliffe into public focus: a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office investigation and the campaign's own announcement that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose brother Anthony Rodham plays a key role in the McAuliffe-GreenTech Autmotive story, reportedly will campaign in Virginia with McAuliffe some time during the next few months.
Walker, who has also hammered Republican governor Bob McDonnell for his acceptance of gifts from a wealthy businessman, notes that the documentary's on-camera interviews "with Mississippi residents claiming they've been jilted by [McAuliffe's] GreenTech and people from Franklin [Virginia] still waiting on a green energy project McAuliffe proposed" are "particularly damaging."
These emotional interviews, combined with McAuliffe's connection to the Clintons and Obama administration officials in the Department of Homeland Security dovetail "with Republican efforts to undermine a business resume McAuliffe touts as a key qualification to be Virginia's governor," according to Walker.
The film's claim that McAuliffe is a "showman" who leverages personal relationships with high ranking political officials for personal gain while failing to deliver on business promises to local communities could have been "ripped from the headlines" the week of its release. One headline featured a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office investigation into the dealings of US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas' role in granting a visa to a Chinese national who is also an investor in McAuliffe's GreenTech Automotive, according to press reports.
The Chinese national under investigation is an executive with Huawei Technologies, a firm with alleged links to "Chinese intelligence gathering" (charges the company denies). The executive reportedly invested in McAuliffe's GreenTech Automototive project through a controversial EB-5 foreign national investor program. Under the terms of that program, foreign nationals can qualify to receive temporary and permanent green card visas in return for investing a minimum of $500,000 in an American company.
The allegation, which Mayorkas denied recently in Senate hearings on his confirmation to become Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, is that Mayorkas overrode a decision by other officials at the Department of Homeland Security to deny the Huawei Technologies executive a temporary green card visa. The investigation, which has not stated any criminal violations occurred, is looking into whether contacts between McAuliffe and Mayorkas, which Mayorkas acknowledges took place, influenced this decision.
For Walker, the connection to Clintons in this investigation further damages McAuliffe's reputation among Virginia voters. As he notes in his article, "Northern Virginia-based Gulf Coast Funds Management LLC, is run by Hillary Clinton's brother Anthony Rodham and is a designated regional center for the EB-5 immigrant investor program."
The connection is even stronger than this, since Gulf Coasts Funds Management LLC has one exclusive client --McAuliffe's GreenTech Automotive. In addition, the two companies share office space in the same McLean, Virginia building.
The political damage of this investigation, according to Walker, could be immense. "Links to McAuliffe leave Republicans an opening to pick at his record and raise national security concerns," he notes.
The Virginian-Pilot is the largest metro daily newspaper in Virginia. Based in Norfolk, its website claims a readership of more than 300,000 throughout the entire Hampton Roads area. The paper did not endorse a candidate in the 2012 Presidential election.