McAuliffe: Look, I Wasn't Really Responsible For Stuff When I was Chairman of My Failed Company

Guy Benson

8/19/2013 10:25:00 AM - Guy Benson

Last week, the Washington Post published a stern house editorial enumerating the myriad ethical problems and investigations plaguing Virginia gubernatorial nominee and long-time Clinton confidante Terry McAuliffe.  The admonition concludes, "Virginians are right to press [McAuliffe] for answers."  On Friday, McAuliffe attempted to defuse the controversy by drafting an op/ed to respond to the Post's pointed questions.  Swing and a miss.  Here's the key portion of the Democrat's column, in which he informs readers that as Chairman of troubled GreenTech Automotive -- a post from which he abruptly resigned earlier this year -- he wasn't responsible for any of the problematic dealings that have triggered two separate federal probes.  Leadership:


Here are the facts: I’ve not been contacted in any way by those conducting the investigation and have no knowledge of it beyond what has been reported. From what has been reported, the investigation appears to be looking at a document allegedly prepared for potential investors - something I was not responsible for as chairman.


You learn something new every day.  For instance, a company's chairman shouldn't necessarily have to answer for...the actions of said company during his tenure at the helm -- even if those actions entailed the crafting of promissory letters sent to bigwig foreign investors, upon whom the firm's entire sketchy business model relies.  Is it even remotely plausible that Chairman McAuliffe wasn't aware of such picayune details as the major sources of his company's capital?  C'mon.  Perhaps McAuliffe meant that he wasn't responsible for literally typing up and mailing the documents in question.  The Cuccinelli campaign promptly unloaded:

“Today, Terry McAuliffe failed to put forward a serious or honest explanation concerning the multiple investigations of which GreenTech Automotive is entangled.  The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating guarantees GreenTech made to investors while McAuliffe was chairman.  The Department of Homeland Security is investigating the manner in which visas to foreign investors – some of whom were national security threats – were handled during the time period McAuliffe was chairman. McAuliffe played a lead role in the management of GreenTech and solicited special favors from members of the Obama Administration, which even federal employees have now acknowledged.  His argument that he was ‘not responsible’ for actions taken by the company can only be described as a total cop out.  When McAuliffe’s candidacy commenced, he believed GreenTech would be an asset so he made comments company officials now admit were untrue and politically motivated.  Now, with the president and chief executive of GreenTech calling McAuliffe ‘dangerous to business,’ the Democratic gubernatorial nominee claims he had nothing to do with the decisions made by the company he headed. Terry McAuliffe has one of two choices: he can claim to be completely incompetent or a total fraud.  But he cannot say that he knew nothing and had no responsibility for what transpired at GreenTech Automotive..."


Ouch.  And yes, the candidate's former business partner did in fact describe him as "dangerous to business" to the New York Times. McAuliffe spent the balance of his piece dancing around several of the Post's inquiries while simply ignoring others.  America Rising's Tim Miller summarizes:


There's another layer to this story.  Last year, Leftists from coast to coast blasted Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, brazenly blaming him for the private equity firm's dealings long after Romney had departed the company.  The Obama campaign was upbraided by numerous fact-checkers for its relentless perfidy, but never backed away from any of the fallacious claims.  The politics were just too delicious to be marred by facts.  Amidst the blizzard of dishonest accusations was an attempt to tie Romney to a specific Chinese telecommunications company.  I'll let ABC News take it from here:


Remember the Democrats’ withering attacks on Mitt Romney for his business dealings in China and holdings in the Caribbean? The tables have turned. Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe faces attacks from Republicans over his former leadership of an electric car company called GreenTech Automotive, which originally sought to establish its manufacturing base in Virginia but later landed in Tunica, Miss. One of GreenTech’s investors works for a Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei Technologies, investigated by the House intelligence committee over alleged ties to Chinese intelligence services, according to documents obtained by Sen. Chuck Grassley from the Dept. of Homeland Security.  Gulf Coast Management sought a visa for Zhenjun Zhang, a GreenTech investor who was a vice president of Huawei. Huawei has previously said those charges were not true. (The company did not return a phone call or email from ABC News seeking comment.) Last month, Grassley noted that there was a GreenTech investor from Huawei, but Simone Williams, legal counsel for Gulf Coast Technologies, tells ABC News that there is only one investor who is employed by Huawei (Zhang), and his visa has not been approved.

So within the last 12 months, Democrats have asked Virginia voters to reach two conclusions.  First, that Mitt Romney was somehow responsible for Bain Capital's connection to Huawei Technologies, which was established after Romney left Bain.  Second, that Terry McAuliffe was not responsible for GreenTech's active pursuit of Huawei-backed dollars, which took place while he was actively running GreenTech.  (Here's additional evidence of McAuliffe's brilliant stewardship of the firm). Not only did McAuliffe's business try to partner with Mr. Zhang, they allegedly exerted political influence to try to win him special favors with the Department of Homeland Security, even after Zhang's EB-5 visa application had been denied twice over national security concerns.  This wrinkle, incidentally, is where Hillary Clinton's brother and a top Obama nominee factor in to the whole Kafkaesque plot.  Romney's (accurate) explanation last year was, "I wasn't at Bain when those decisions were made."  Now McAuliffe's lame excuse is, "I wasn't really in charge when I was in charge."  Will Democrats get away with their rank hypocrisy?  I'll leave you with an observation I've been making for a few weeks now: The outcome of Virginia's governor race has implications far beyond state-level politics in Richmond over the next four years.