According to the New York Times, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano “popped in” to a 2011 meeting between Terry McAuliffe, at the time chairman of GreenTech Automotive, and Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) branch, as the two men were discussing issues related to the issuance of temporary residential visas for foreign national EB-5 investors in McAuliffe’s company.
On September 1, 2011, not long after this meeting, Mayorkas reversed a ruling made by career DHS officials that had blocked EB-5 investments into GreenTech Automotive. Over the next year, according to the New York Times, an additional $25 million from 50 Chinese nationals flowed into the coffers of investment funds whose sole use of proceeds was to provide cash to GreenTech Automotive.
In the summer of 2010, a career DHS official ruled that GreenTech’s business model to raise investment funds was “impermissible.” Less than three months later, GreenTech Chairman Terry McAuliffe and several associates met with White House officials.
Breitbart News has learned from a source that the meeting at the White House was held in the offices of Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Executive Office Building. Breitbart News has requested a list of the members of the Vice President’s staff who participated in this October 13, 2010 meeting with Terry McAuliffe, but the Vice President’s office has not responded as of the time this story was published.
The circumstances surrounding the October 2010 meeting with members of Vice President Biden’s staff emphasize the very high level of political connections that characterized McAuliffe’s tenure as chairman of GreenTech Automotive. For instance, Rick Wade, who was hired as Senior Vice President and Head of China Operations at GreenTech Automotive in 2011, was at the time of the October 2010 meeting a top aide to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. Locke was a member of Vice President Biden’s Task Force on the Middle Class in 2009 and 2010. In addition, current White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was Vice President Biden’s Director of Communications at the time of the October 2010 meeting.
Months after this meeting, the career DHS official “certified” the ruling against GreenTech, thereby sending the appeal process up the chain to the Department of Homeland Security’s Administrative Appeal Office (AAO).
Five months later, in June 2011, the AAO circulated a draft opinion that upheld the original August 2010 ruling. It was at this time that Terry McAuliffe once again resorted to political connections to advance the cause of his company.
McAuliffe was able to secure a personal meeting with Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the USCIS who was nominated by President Obama to become Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security on June 27. At his confirmation hearings on July 25, Mayorkas confirmed that he met with McAuliffe.
As the New York Times described the meeting:
The official Mr. McAuliffe and [current GreenTech CEO] 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.
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) believes that Mr. Mayorkas personally overruled the AAO draft ruling which called the GreenTech fundraising mechanism “impermissible.” On August 9, Grassley’s office released a letter the Senator sent to Mr. Mayorkas earlier that day. In the letter, Grassley noted that “whistleblowers have said that in the summer of 2011, while USCIS’s Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) was drafting its opinion regarding Gulf Coast’s amendment application, you went beyond merely monitoring or influencing the process, seeking to personally take control of the opinion.”
According to Grassley’s letter:
In a meeting of USCIS employees, including AAO staff, you allegedly said:
“Give it to me, I’ll write the f—ing thing myself.”
Mr. Mayorkas denies the allegation.
Senator Grassley remains unconvinced. In his letter he noted that “on August 16, 2011, one career employee [at DHS] e-mailed a colleague regarding USCIS management’s involvement in individual cases: ‘I already sent a message . . . saying we really cannot continue like this with the constant front office drills on these cases. I guess in some regard I am preaching to the choir because he is equally frustrated.’ “
The recently retired Chief of the DHS Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), whose draft decision was overruled by Mayorkas, and other career DHS officials have provided further information to Senator Grassley, which he cited in his letter.
The recipient of the August 16, 2011, e-mail responded: AAO delivered an updated draft of the GCFM to [the Deputy Director of USCIS] a week or so ago. . . . AAO had discovered some add’l dirt on GCFM and . . . the decision was probably not going to play out as Ali had hoped given his political pressure to overturn the previous draft. . . . We simply cannot approve based upon politics instead of eligibility under the law.
The author of the first e-mail responded: “[T]his is the darn AAO decision that Ali
wanted to rewrite. Got it[.]”
Breitbart News sought comments from both Secretary Napolitano and Mr. Mayorkas on this story, but as of the time of publication has received no response.