Virginia was particularly alarmed by GreenTech's use of an opaque visa program, called EB-5, to fund itself. Part of a 1990 immigration law, EB-5 lets foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. company receive green cards. A federal immigration agency approves "regional centers" that administer the program.
While these centers can be run by local government, GreenTech proposed running a Virginia center itself. One official at the Virginia development agency wrote to colleagues that she couldn't view Greentech's EB-5 program as "anything other than a visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications."
GreenTech is today using its own investment vehicle to run a regional center in Mississippi. The president and CEO of Gulf Coast Funds Management is Anthony Rodham, the youngest brother of Hillary Clinton. Its board is composed of Democratic Party insiders, from former Clinton IRS Commissioner Margaret Richardson to former Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Neither the immigration agency, nor GreenTech or Gulf Coast, has divulged how much money the company has raised via EB-5, or how many visas it has issued.
This is of particular interest, since GreenTech looks to be a lemon. Despite promising production in 2011, there is no evidence the company is manufacturing any cars in volume. It is operating out of a temporary site and has yet to begin building its flagship factory in Tunica. GreenTech is the latest proof (after Solyndra, Fisker, A123 and others) that the political class is adept at hooking up cronies and investors with taxpayer dollars. But creating jobs? No can do.
James L. Salmon, Esq.
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