Sen. Mark Warner Dragged Into Visa Controversy by McAuliffe Email

Sen. Mark Warner Dragged Into Visa Controversy by McAuliffe Email

Three years ago, according to newly released emails, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe dropped the name of Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) into an email to a DHS official requesting the official’s intervention on behalf of the company he chaired at the time, GreenTech Automotive. McAuliffe’s use of the Virginia Senator’s name may drag the Senator into an unwelcome political controversy.

It certainly raises questions about what, if any, actions Senator Warner took to assist or influence the agency’s consideration of an application that would allow GreenTech to expand its financing through the EB-5 visa program. It is possible that Warner had asked McAuliffe about the application’s status and McAuliffe was using his name for leverage with DHS.     

On July 28, 2010, according to these recently released DHS emails, Douglas Andrew Smith, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for the Private Sector, forwarded an email he had received earlier in the day from GreenTech Automotive’s then chairman, Terry McAuliffe, to Alejandro Mayorkas, director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General has initiated an investigation into Mr. Mayorkas’ role in overruling a visa denial to an EB-5 investor in GreenTech Automotive. 

In a brief note at the beginning of the forwarded July 28, 2010 email, Smith told Mayorkas, “A –Thanks! Looking forward to our dinner when you get back. Have a great vacation.”

Below that note, Smith forwarded McAuliffe’s email to him, which read in part:

“As I mentioned to you, I am the chairmain of GreenTech Automotive (GTA)…partially funded by USCIS EB-5 program through Gulf Coast Funds Management (GCFM) regional center, which was initially approved in August 2008 to cover Mississippi and Louisiana. GCFM filed an Amendment Application in Jan 2010 to expand its operation to Virginia and Tennessee to support GTA’s efforts.”

“I have been extremely frustrated by the USCIS approval process which has delayed our business plan and job creation efforts. The major delay was caused by incorrect information given to us by USCIS officials regarding the extension process. You should be aware that Senator Warner and other Members of Congress have made inquiries on this project. I would greatly appreciate your attention to this matter as it is imperative to our country that we begin to get people back to work, especially in the manufacturing sector.”

Warner has endorsed McAuliffe in his 2013 campaign for governor of Virginia, and appeared with him at campaign events in May.

The EB-5 program was established in 1990, and allows foreign nationals to obtain temporary and permanent resident green card visas for themselves and their immediate family members in return for the investment of a minimum of $500,000 in an American company. It also authorizes the establishment of private “regional centers” which help American companies find foreign national EB-5 investors, and help those investors secure their temporary green cards through the I-526 petition process.

McAuliffe’s email to Smith on July 28, 2010 did not request assistance in the approval of an I-526 petition to secure a temporary green card visa for an EB-5 investor in GreenTech Automotive. Instead, it requested Smith’s assistance in extending the geographic territory in which Gulf Coast Funds Management, the EB-5 regional center that works exclusively with GreenTech Automotive, could operate. 

When the Department of Homeland Security granted Gulf Coast Funds Management EB-5 regional center status in 2008, it was limited to work with American companies located within the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. McAuliffe wanted to extend that operating authority to the states of Tennessee and Virginia. That request was never granted.

Hillary Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham, was named president of Gulf Coast Funds Management in 2009.

Senators and Congressman commonly help constituents with matters tied up in the federal bureaucracy, but in light of the current investigation, any actions Sen. Warner took on behalf of Gulf Coast or GreenTech should be disclosed. On Tuesday, Breitbart News asked Senator Warner’s office to comment on McAuliffe’s email, but has received no response yet. Breitbart News also requested a confirmation from Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Smith that he forwarded Terry McAuliffe’s July 28, 2010 to him to Mr. Mayorkas, but has received no response yet.