In picking Virginia Senator and former DNC chair Tim Kaine as her running mate, Hillary Clinton makes no splash. (Has she ever?) She plays it safe, matches Trump’s pick of an average, non-outshining party VP and doubles down on crisp consonants. (Say it: “Clinton/Kaine” crackles, with each name coming on crisp and sharp and ending in luscious, sheet-rumply nnn; “Trump/Pence” starts sloppy, awkwardly hitches in the middle, then hisses away like the air from a punctured tire.)
Alas, Tim Kaine has some connection to Hillary Clinton’s own EB-5 scandal. In December 2009, on his way out as Virginia governor, Kaine wrote to Barbara Velarde, a USCIS official overseeing the EB-5 visa investment program, to support a letter from the Virginia Employment Commission certifying areas of Virginia as “Targeted Employment Areas.” In seeking that designation, the Kaine Administration was trying to lower the investment foreigners had to make to buy their green cards from $1,000,000 to $500,000. Lowering that investment threshold was meant to help GreenTech Automotive and investment firm Gulf Coast Funds Management secure EB-5 funds to build an electric car factory in Virginia. The Kaine Administration had information that the GreenTech/GCFM car plant was a train wreck.
GreenTech was run by Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chair, co-chair or Bill Clinton’s 1996 campaign and chair of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign. GCFM was run by Anthony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother.
A 2015 Inspector General’s report found Homeland Security deputy Alejandro Mayorkas had created “an appearance of favoritism and special access” in urging the Virginia EB-5 project along.
GreenTech ultimately picked Mississippi over Virginia for its car factory, thanks to lots of tax incentives from Republican Governor and former RNC chair Haley Barbour. The factory flopped.
So, Republicans, ready to talk about EB-5 now?