Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s Democratic candidate for governor, is facing more questions about GreenTech Automotive, the car company he once headed that is now under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SEC officials are looking into whether the car company has “guaranteed returns” to investors, according to The Post.
Gulf Coast helps foreign nationals get EB-5 visas, where foreigners invest between $500,000 and $1 million into American companies and receive legal status in exchange.
The SEC is reportedly investigating how GreenTech and Gulf Coast got investors to participate, particularly Chinese citizens who wanted U.S. citizenship.
In the past week, it was revealed the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into EB-5 applications with ties to Gulf Coast. The SEC investigation into GreenTech is the latest development in the controversy.
McAuliffe co-founded the car company and stepped down as chairman in 2012.
His campaign released a statement Saturday publicly addressing the SEC investigation, claiming he had known nothing of it until the story broke last week.
“I have no knowledge of the investigation other than what I have read in the papers,” McAuliffe said in the statement. “"If there are concerns as to whether procedures were properly followed, those concerns should be examined and I'm glad the company said it is cooperating fully.”
McAuliffe said the EB-5 program has the potential to create jobs and fuel the economy and that it’s received support across party lines.
“There has been widespread frustration, however, both inside and outside USCIS about the bureaucracy there and the pace of the investment program,” he said. “Like many business leaders and political officials from both parties, I was among those who expressed frustration on several occasions to multiple individuals. I never asked for any preferential treatment, nor did I ever expect to receive any.”
Republicans and supporters of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia GOP’s candidate for governor, have jumped on the investigations as opportunities to attack McAuliffe over the situation, suggesting he used political connections to promote GreenTech.
Shortly after McAuliffe released his statement, Cuccinelli’s campaign issued a response accusing McAuliffe of avoiding the real questions and “insult[ing] the intelligence of Virginians.”
“The question is, what did McAuliffe and GreenTech do to warrant not one, but two federal investigations?” said Cuccinelli Campaign Manager Dave Rexrode in a statement.
Cuccinelli and McAuliffe are set to appear together on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, in Norfolk, Va., for a Jobs Summit sponsored by Tidewater Community College and Inside Business. During lunch, the two candidates will deliver remarks separately about the economy and job creation.