DHS Email: 'We Absolutely Gave Special Treatment to GreenTech' Visa Requests
An April 2013 email from a career Department of Homeland Security official released on Friday by the office of Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stated that the Department of Homeland Security "absolutely gave special treatment" to green card visa applications filed by foreign national EB-5 investors in GreenTech Automotive, the company Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Terry McAuliffe served as chairman of from 2010 to 2012.
In the released email, the names of the sender as well as the recipient have been redacted, but both are described as "career DHS officials." The text of the email also refers to a person called "D1," which Senator Grassley's office believes is US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director Alejandro Mayorkas. President Obama nominated Mayorkas to become Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security on June 27.
Mr. Mayorkas testified before a Senate committee holding hearings on his nomination on July 25. The hearings were attended by only Democrats. Republicans did not participate because Mr. Mayorkas is the subject of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General's Office.
The email, dated April 12, 2013, is from a "Senior USCIS Career Official" and is sent to "USCIS Career Officials." It reads as follows:
We absolutely gave special treatment to GreenTech at the directive of D1. D1 was working directly with the RC's [EB-5 Regional Center] atty, [name redacted]. Additionally, I would call a wholesale rewrite of the AAO's [Administrative Appeals Office] decision by the front office special treatment. Look at the first draft in the attached email and the final version, attached.
Senator Grassley asked Mr. Mayorkas about an apparent inconsistency between this email and his earlier testimony in a letter he sent to Mr. Mayorkas on Thursday. Grassley wrote to Mayorkas that "you testified [on July 25]: 'I have never ever in my career exercised undue influence to influence the outcome of a case.'" Grassley noted in his letter to Mayorkas that "D1 [mentioned in the April 12, 2013 email] is an apparent reference to you."
Grassley then cited Mayorkas' testimony to the Senate committee on July 25:
Several documents call into question some of the statements you made regarding preferential treatment in your testimony at last Thursday’s hearing. For example, you were asked in the hearing about communications with Terry McAuliffe with respect to Gulf Coast Funds Management. You testified: “I was asked to attend a meeting with Mr. McAuliffe so that I could hear in person his complaints... two years ago... I heard those complaints, and that was the extent of the interaction... I moved on with my work.” (Emphasis included in Grassley letter)
But, Grassley wrote, "Contrary to the impression left by your answer, documents indicate that both before and after that meeting, you actually engaged in nearly a dozen contacts with Gulf Coast Funds Management between 2010 and 2013, including direct communications with Gulf Coast’s attorneys." Grassley concluded, "That one meeting with Mr. McAuliffe was clearly not the extent of your interaction on that matter."
The EB-5 foreign national investor program has come under intense scrutiny over the past several years. Under the program, enacted into law in 1990, foreign nationals may obtain temporary and permanent green card resident visas in return for investing a minimum of $500,000 in an American company.
The possibility that foreign nationals who have invested in GreenTech Automotive have been granted temporary green card visas due to the political influence of the principals involved is a key issue currently under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General's Office.
Terry McAuliffe, who was chairman of GreenTech Automotive during the period when political influence may have played a role in the granting of visas, is a friend and chief fundraiser for former President Bill Clinton. Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is the President and CEO of Gulf Coast Funds Management, which the Department of Homeland Security designated the EB-5 Regional Center that works exclusively with GreenTech Automotive to help secure green card visas for its EB-5 investors.
Grassley's letter to Mayorkas was one of two stories about GreenTech Automotive that made headlines on Friday. In a related story, GreenTech Automotive confirmed to Breitbart News on Friday that it has received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission to produce company documents. According to the Washington Post, those documents were subpoenaed as evidence in the SEC's investigation into claims made by GreenTech Automotive to its investors.