Crony Capitalism at Work

Scottie Hughes

4/30/2013 12:01:00 AM - Scottie Hughes

Ready for the next Solyndra? If you haven’t heard of GreenTech Automotive, that’s going to change. And fast.

The “green energy” company that boasts about building electric cars has recently been vaulted into the national spotlight because of its ties to top Clinton donors and Obama administration officials, and most disturbingly, because of its assault on freedom of speech by suing the Franklin Center and its independent journalism arm Watchdog.org.

Investigative journalists are few and far between, especially in the Obama era. Few dare to pore over documents and ask the tough questions of Democrats in power. The mainstream media has been asleep at the switch. Stories like Fast and Furious and Solyndra only came to light because of the work of the independent journalists and bloggers who worked tirelessly to expose the corruption within the Obama administration. The brave journalists at the Franklin Center who broke this story deserve widespread praise from the mainstream media. Instead they’ve been ignored because they are conservatives exposing corruption on the left. In other words, your typical double standard is at play.

Those who dare to step out and report on well-heeled and well-connected Washington insiders like liberal Democrat Terry McAuliffe, the founder and former chairman of GreenTech, find themselves the victims of smear campaigns and lawsuits. GreenTech is now suing the Franklin Center for $85 million in a clear effort to shut down their efforts to investigate the company. They intend to put a muzzle on the First Amendment. Like most on the left, the Constitution of the United States is only useful when it works for them.

It’s little wonder GreenTech would want to muzzle Watchdog.org considering what its reporters discovered. At the heart of the business were top-tier Clintonistas and Obama officials who had signed on to help the new business cash in on millions of dollars in “green energy” subsidies and financing plans courtesy of the American taxpayer. These were the same programs that proved so successful in keeping afloat Solyndra and Fisker–that is, until they went belly up.

Hugh Rodham, the disgraced brother of Hillary Clinton, led the company’s fundraising efforts. This of course is same Hugh Rodham responsible for the ethically dubious “legal services” to secure pardons from his brother in law, the 42nd President of the United States. One of Obama’s top campaign and cabinet officials, Rick Wade, is GreenTech’s vice president. Wade served as interim director, chief of staff and spokesman of Obama’s Department of Commerce, where he helped craft the $787 billion stimulus bill chock full of subsidies to other green energy boondoggles.

Perhaps most disturbing, Watchdog.org found that the company’s funding relied on a "cash for visas" program to attract foreign investment. Under the controversial EB-5 visa program, foreign nationals who invest $500,000 in U.S. companies are eligible for green cards for themselves and their families -- permanent U.S. residency. The Boston jihadists didn’t need a half million dollars to get here, but there’s no reason some well-funded terrorists couldn’t. This is exactly the kind of approach the Obama administration loves – looking the other way while people who hate our freedoms wallow their way onto our shores.

The scheme raised hackles when in 2009 GreenTech approached Democratic governor of Virginia Tim Kaine for state grants and subsidies to build their plant. Even Kaine officials had enough sense to turn this hare-brained scheme down. Officials were horrified when they evaluated the business plan. One labeled McAullife’s business “a visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications that we have no way to confirm or discount.”

Crony capitalism has reached new heights of audacity in the Obama era, but lest we forget, Republicans can be enticed too. When Virginia's concerns went unaddressed, McAuliffe went to Mississippi, where he found a warm welcome and an enticing mix of government handouts and tax holidays amounting to more than 8 million from Republican Governor Haley Barbour. There the company also got income and franchise tax exemptions for ten years.

Now that he is running for the highest office in Virginia, McAuliffe, the former chair of the Democratic National Committee and top fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run, is trying to walk away from the radioactive disaster that is GreenTech. He claims he “resigned” from the company in December 2012, just as Watchdog.org began publishing its findings, but his resignation letter didn’t become available until four months later. Even the New York Times is now in on the act – talking about the scandal this company may wreak on the McAuliffe campaign. When the New York Times gets something right, you know it’s time to start paying attention.

McAuliffe likely hopes the headlines will go away, that his company’s lawsuit will succeed in intimidating others from reporting the facts, and that he can breeze to victory against the Republican Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli. Well not if the citizen journalists of America, and fearless groups like the Franklin Center, have anything to do with it, We’re going to be sure GreenTech remains an albatross around McAuliffe’s neck until he’s defeated on November 5, 2013.