Virginia Republican legislators called on Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe to come clean this week about his former electric car company’s connection to a federal official under investigation in a “visas-for-sale scheme.”
The federal government is investigating an allegation that Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), helped approve an investor visa application from Gulf Coast Funds Management, a financial company in McLean, after the application had already been denied and an appeal rejected.
Gulf Coast Funds Management assists foreign nationals get EB-5 visas, where foreigners invest between $500,000 and $1 million into American companies and receive legal status in exchange.
GreenTech Automotive, the electric car company that McAuliffe founded and headed until recently, is a client of Gulf Coast, which is run by Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been looking into the EB-5 visa applications with ties to Gulf Coast since at least March.
The GOP has jumped on the controversy and are demanding that McAuliffe address his role in the Mayorkas investigation.
But McAuliffe’s campaign has been adamant in denying any connection or wrongdoing between GreenTech and Gulf Coast.
During a Monday press call, state Sen. Tom Garrett (R-22nd) said the Commonwealth deserves some answers.
“The question is: was there any wrongdoing?,” Garrett said on the call. “That we don’t know the answer to. But it would behoove, I think, Mr. McAuliffe to give some answers to Virginians.”
Del. Israel O’Quinn (R-5th) agreed, and said the lack of a definitive answer reflected poorly on McAuliffe’s potential as a leader.
“That’s just not real leadership, and when issues like this come up, have an answer, whatever the answer may be,” O’Quinn said.
“How he’s going to handle this situation, this sticky wicket, is going to tell us a lot about how he’s going to operate as governor.”
The two lawmakers touted Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, McAuliffe’s Republican opponent in November, as a man who would address such controversies head-on.
GOP backers have been hammering McAuliffe on his history with GreenTech for much of the campaign so far, taking him to task for choosing to locate plants outside the Commonwealth.